This essay examines the strengths and weaknesses of environmental and offender profiling and is divided into two parts. The first part of the essay examines environmental profiling and its strengths and weaknesses and the second part examines offender profiling and its strength and weaknesses.
A combination of scientific disciplines and techniques are used in environmental profiling - e.g. pedology, biology, sedimentology, and geography. (Wiltshire, n.d.)
Thus, all the scientific disciplines that compliment (or that are used in) environmental science are of use in environmental profiling. The use of chemistry to analyse soil particles in a laboratory for example, can give clues to the source of soil found at a crime scene and can be useful material evidence in solving crimes.
Through the use of biological know how for example, soils from a crime scene may provide materials like insects, amoebae, parasitic worm eggs, and "aquatic organisms like Ostracods and Foraminifera". (Wiltshire, n.d. para. 2.1.2) Certain microscopic plants like diatoms and dinoflagellates may also be found in soil deposited unawares by an offender at a crime scene. These microscopic flora and fauna may not be widespread in location and would thus be only present in restricted areas. An analysis of such material could point investigators to the possible location of an offender.
Wiltshire (n.d.) provides a non-exhaustive inventory of materials that can be useful in environmental profiling. ...