Profiling in Law Enforcement

Decent Essays

The term profiling is defined as “the use of personal characteristics or behavior patterns to make a generalization about a person”; therefore, this refers to gender profiling. The second part of the definition also states the “use of these characteristics to determine whether a person may be engaged in illegal activity” refers to what is called racial profiling (, n.d.). Profiling has been used within in law enforcement for a number of years, as it provides informational analysis for solving crimes, but unfortunately over time, profiling has become the focus of race and ethnicity. The intent of profiling was designed as a legitimate tool for law enforcement to utilize for positive reasons, but to understand why profiling has been given such a negative outlook; it must be understood that profiling can either be proactive or reactive in its use. The idea of proactive profiling is representative of making judgments about another, relative to possible criminal activity. The factors of a person’s race, manner of dress, grooming, behavioral characteristics, and the circumstances surrounding the observation of these factors plays a role in proactive profiling (Ibe, Ochie, & Obiyan, 2013, p. 184). When law enforcement officials profile criminals, this valuable tool is used to focus on such things as traits and characteristics, personality, and behavior. Once the underlying factors are discovered, this information becomes divided into specific categories for

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