Protect Your Family: Think like a Criminal Profiler

Criminal profilers know that understanding criminal and human behavior can help lead to apprehending dangerous criminals in our midst. Profiling can also help keep your family safe from the same predators law enforcement wants to apprehend.

Some of the basic techniques used to help profilers zero in on a potential crime suspect can be used to also help you zero in on the specific dangers that exist for your family.

Analysis is one of those basic techniques, and it is a key component in the field of profiling. Looking at statistical data of past behaviors can help the profiler and you determine future behaviors when it comes to criminal activity in your community.

In addition to analysis, however, is the need to know your own family’s weak spots. Being able to assess areas in which your family would become an easy target for a criminal, coupled with knowing the past dangers of your particular community (or future travel site), will help you protect your family and think like a criminal profiler.

The first objective

Collecting data is the first step in any criminal profiler’s job. Without the facts and evidence you can’t build a profile. Likewise, as a family safety profiler you will want to collect all crime-related data from police and sheriff websites in your area as well as your local state police agency and the FBI.

Additional websites, like, provide families with safety information as well, but remember that sexual offenders on probation don’t have to register with such websites when they move to another neighborhood. Therefore, your local sheriff’s office or police department’s website will provide the more up-to-date information on that particular safety threat.

Analyzing your community

After collecting criminal data for your community you want to see what is the greatest threat in your particular geographical area: Is it drug use, home burglary, school-related violence, sexual crimes like pedophilia or rape, or crimes like robbery or murder?

As you analyze which crimes your community will likely face, you also need to consider if your neighbors will prove an asset or a liability if such a crime occurs at your home. You want to prepare for all contingencies, including not having aid from others if you or your family member needs it.

Know your family

Just as you need to know the criminal; you need to know your family and their habits and tendencies. You have to know your family member’s vulnerable spots in order to understand how a criminal can take advantage of them, as well as how you can best prevent him from doing so.

This will require some one-on-one time with each member, discussing safety issues with them that you think they could encounter in the home, school or play settings. Take their measure safety-wise, too, by monitoring their habits. Do they carelessly leave car or house keys within easy reach of a criminal in their midst in public settings?


Employ role-playing opportunities for your family, in safe settings of course, which will give them the chance to “encounter” the type of criminal they would most likely face in your neighborhood. Some role-playing should be unannounced, like the co-worker you ask to drop by and act like he needs to get something from your office without you being home.

Does your teen daughter let him in without calling your first? Will your wife assume since he works with you it must be OK? This will provide you with the chance to educate loved ones on what they should (or shouldn’t) do in the future, if such situations occur.

Safety plans are dynamic

Family safety is a work in progress, just like a profile of a criminal. It is dynamic, changing constantly, so your family safety plan has to change as your own family and circumstances change. Your toddler’s safety issues today will morph into teen safety issues tomorrow. Make sure your family safety plan does too.

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