FBI Profile – Organized Criminals

Sean Mactire’s book,  Malicious Intent: A Writer’s Guide to How Murderers, Robbers, Rapists, and Other Criminal Think, contains useful information for writers to create believable antagonists. I’ve already covered the FBI’s Profile Matrix in the last several posts. In my next two posts, I’ll cover areas not included in the matrix, things that move beyond the crime, the crime scene, and the physical evidence. The FBI has classified violent criminals into two main types: organized and disorganized. Today I’ll cover the personal characteristics of organized violent offenders and their behavior after the crime.

(Side note: I’m copying this next part word-for-word from Sean’s book, and part of me feels that I’m cheating him by giving away his book in blog format. However, I skipped a ton of material near the beginning of the book, and I know I’ll skip more in other places, so to get ALL the information, purchase his book. It’s worth the investment.)

The personal characteristics of the organized violent offender may include:

  • High intelligence (IQ 135+), may be college educated
  • Social competence
  • Sexual competence
  • Living with a partner
  • Being an only child or most favored child in family
  • Having suffered abuse or harsh discipline in childhood
  • Controlled moods
  • Maintaining a stereotypical masculine image (note: I’ll discuss female criminals at a later time)
  • Being charming
  • Having moods subject to situational cause
  • Being geographically and occupationally mobile
  • Following media coverage

The behavior of the organize criminal may include:

  • Returning to the crime scene
  • Volunteering information
  • Being a police groupie
  • Anticipating being questioned
  • Moving the body
  • Disposing of the body to advertise the crime

The organized criminal also:

  • Plans the offense
  • Personalizes the victim
  • Controls conversation with victim
  • Controls crime scene
  • Requires victim to be submissive
  • Uses restraints
  • Acts aggressively
  • Moves body
  • Removes weapon
  • Leaves very little evidence

There is a wealth of information here for the writer who is crafting a bad guy (please note the “may” before each bulleted list – not every organized killer will have all these traits). The organized violent criminal appears normal to the rest of the world. He’s intelligent. He’s socially competent. He’s charming and in a relationship. He’s got a job. Think of Ted Bundy. The fun (and creepy) part of fashioning this bad guy is the aftermath of the crime. He’ll come back to the crime scene, and he’ll have his answers well rehearsed when the detectives start asking questions. Good detectives know that sometimes the perpetrator returns to the crime scene, so they take pictures of the crowds and careful notes of who they interviewed. So how does the bad guy get away with it? How does he throw attention away from himself? How does he “take control” of the investigation without pointing a big neon arrow at his own head? That’s the fun part! You, writer friend, must come up with a carefully woven plot to throw suspicion on other unsavory individuals who have sufficient means, motive, and opportunity, yet insert enough damaging information that the detective can nab the correct perp in the end–and have the reader think, “yes, that works perfectly, I should have seen it myself.”

In my next post I’ll discuss the disorganized violent offender.



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