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Criminal Investigative Analysis

What is Criminal Investigative Analysis?

Criminal Investigative Analysis (CIA), also known as criminal profiling, is an investigative tool used within the law enforcement community to help solve violent crimes. The analysis is based on a review of evidence from the crime scene and from witnesses and victims. The analysis is done from both an investigative and a behavioural perspective. The analysis can provide insight into the unknown offender (characteristics and traits) as well as investigative suggestions and strategies for interviews and trial.

A CIA cannot replace a thorough investigation; and the accuracy and detail of a CIA is limited by the accuracy and detail of the information on which it is based. CIA does not use crystal balls or psychic experiences; it is a logical, systematic approach for analyzing behaviour.

CIA services can assist in the investigation of interpersonal violence, particularly homicide and sexual assault cases. CIA is suitable for single-incident or serial cases with one or more victims, including:

  • homicides;
  • kidnapping, including infant kidnapping;
  • sexual assault;
  • child molestation and abuse;
  • hostage taking;
  • bombings;
  • arson;
  • threat cases; and
  • extortion.

CIA analysts are experienced investigators with extensive training in behavioural analysis. They have been certified by the International Criminal Investigative Analysis Fellowship to provide analyses of criminal behaviour.

Consulting Services

The consulting services that CIA analysts offer to criminal investigators include the following areas:

Personality Profile: This is a detailed behavioural analysis to derive information about an unknown offender. The analyst examines information about the victim and the offence to determine the characteristics and traits of the offender. Such a personality profile may allow those involved to recognize someone as a possible offender. Based on the analysis, the analyst can usually offer suggestions for further investigations.

Indirect Personality Assessment: This is an assessment of a known individual believed to be responsible for committing a violent crime. The assessment, based on an evaluation of the individual's personality, can help to determine:

  • whether or not the suspect's personality fits the crime under investigation;
  • suspect's strengths, weaknesses and areas of vulnerability ;
  • interview techniques appropriate for the suspect;
  • strategies for a successful undercover operation;
  • strategies for negotiating successfully with a hostage-taker;
  • strategies for investigating offenders of sexual homicide or serial rape, particularly to elicit predictable actions on the part of the offender; and
  • most appropriate trial and courtroom strategy.

Equivocal Death Analysis: This is an in-depth crime scene reconstruction undertaken to provide an opinion on the manner of death: homicide, suicide, accidental death, death by natural causes, or death by misadventure. This is generally done in conjunction with a psychological autopsy.

Assessment of Threat or Extortion Communications: The analyst examines a threat or extortion communication for content and stylistic characteristics in order to assess the validity of the threat and the level of risk to the victim and suggest ways to minimize the risk to the victim. In some cases it is possible to provide a profile of the unknown author or caller.

Consulting to Provide Expert Analysis: This service is provided to help investigators focus and fine tune interview techniques, develop investigative strategies including undercover operation strategies, and develop an appropriate trial and courtroom strategy. A CIA analyst can provide services such as:

  • crime scene reconstruction;
  • expert evidence/reports to coroner's inquest;
  • expert opinions for use in search warrant and privacy act applications;
  • expert evidence/reports regarding the 'signature' of serial violent offenders;
  • analysis of stalking cases;
  • research on unusual areas of expert examination;and
  • consultation on media strategy and releases.

Requesting Criminal Investigative Analysis Services

CIA services should be requested early in the investigation in cases where the crime is one of interpersonal violence, where most investigative leads have been exhausted or where special circumstances exist.

Canadian and international police services can contact the RCMP to request the services of a criminal investigative analyst. These services are limited to our policing partners.

How to become a Criminal Investigative Analyst

To become a Criminal Investigative Analyst (CIA) in Canada, you must have extensive policing experience working sexual assault and homicide investigations. You must possess a knowledge of crime scene investigation and police procedures regarding interviewing, interrogation, and forensic pathology. Currently the only three police forces in Canada that have CIA positions are the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Quebec Provincial Police (QPP).

While a University degree is not required to become a CIA, it does not hurt to have a knowledge of the studies done in fields of psychology, criminology, and other disciplines as they relate to offenders, victims, geography and so on.

There are several non-police persons, academic or otherwise, who claim that policing is not required to be a Criminal Investigative Analyst. However, any analysis done without an understanding of offender/victim interaction, and how it can be reflected in a crime scene, misses a key component for doing a complete analysis. Cases are typically referred by other police agencies, who will not typically disclose sensitive information to those without proper clearances for investigational and prosecutorial reasons. Details of a case are guarded and the only way to access the specifics of a case are by invite from the investigators, therefore access is limited to police investigators only.