Tuesday, June 4, 2013

3.2 Crime Evaluation: Motive and Motivation

To start with, let's clarify the meaning of the words:
- a motive is made of the emotional, psychological and material needs that impel and are satisfied by behavior
- the intent is the specific aim that guides behavior

That said, determining the motivation behind a crime provides several advantages to a criminal investigation:
- it reduces the suspect pool
- it helps linking unsolved cases
- it can provide circumstantial bearing on the offender's identity
- it can provide bearing on the offender's state of mind
- it can provide bearing on whether a crime has actually occurred

If the motivation underlying a crime is obvious and classic:
- money: the crime is committed just to depossess a victim from his or her valuables and/or money
- personal:  could be crimes committed out of compassion (euthanasia) or for revenge or other personal reason
- passion: jealousy, marital fights that go wrong
- accident: self defense, negligence or inattention

If there are no obvious or classic motivation explaining a crime, it is highly likely that the motivation is at least partly narcissistic/sexual
- the sexual aspect is not necessarily obvious (no sexual act performed) or can be overpowered on the crime scene by a narcissistic component.
- the killer's intent can be expressed as much in a rape than in the power and control he uses on the victims
          * The sexual dimension is given by the evidence of acts with a strong sexual connotation: naked body,
             rape, humiliation, degradation through posing, obscene messages, fetishist objects on the crime
          * The more the crime scene seems to be ritualized, the more the offender's fantasy is elaborate and the
             more the narcissistic dimension is important

Also, a motivation can be underlying another and thus you have to look for:
- conscious motivations: these are motivations that the offender is aware of and that seem to be what lead them, at least on the surface, to commit the crime (for example greed, sexual pulsion)
- unconscious motivations: these are motivations that the offender is not aware of but very often are the ones that are giving a "sense" to their actions (need for control, power, domination)

In general, the more the motives are obvious, the more the victim is familiar to the offender. The same applies if the offender depersonalizes the victim during the crime (even more if the offender destroys or hides the victim's face). But be careful as this not always apply to every crime scene where the victim is disfigured: it can also mean that the offender chose this victim as a substitute to the real person he wants to attack.

The more the crime scene shows sexual, narcissistic or violent aspects, the more likely it is or will become serial, as the killer is only able to express his sexuality or emotions through violent behaviors.

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