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“A review of the validity of criminal profiling

Profiling as an investigative tool has a high level of acceptance among both the general public and police.[9]

In the United States, between 1971 and 1981, the FBI provided profiling services on only 192 occasions. By 1986, FBI profilers were requested in 600 investigations in a single year. By 1996, 12 FBI profilers were applying profiling to approximately 1000 cases per year.[11]

In the United Kingdom, 29 profilers provided 242 instances of profiling advice between 1981 and 1994, its usage increasing steadily over that period.[11]

The usage of profiling has been documented in SwedenFinlandNew ZealandSouth AfricaGermanyCanadaIrelandMalaysiaRussiaZimbabwe, and the Netherlands.[2][11]

Surveys of police officers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have found an overwhelming majority consider profiling to be useful.[2] A 2007 meta-analysis of existing research into offender profiling noted that there was “a notable incongruity between [profiling’s] lack of empirical foundation and the degree of support for the field.”[3]

Profiling’s continued popularity has been speculatively attributed to broad use of anecdotes and testimonials, a focus on correct predictions over the number of incorrect ones, ambiguous profiles benefiting from the Barnum effect, and the popular appeal of the fantasy of a sleuth with deductive powers like Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes.[