expectation that their communities will be safe, that individuals who commit crimes will be prosecuted, that freedom of mobility within the United States and outside its borders will be safeguarded and that the federal government’s primary responsibility must always be to protect the national security of the country. These expectations are uniformly held by Americans and transcend political affiliation, socio-economic status, ethnicity or geographic location.
A major legal and constitutional question concerns how we reconcile the protection of the rights of American citizens and those who legally enter the country with the public official’s duty to act in the national interest of the United States. Two current events have triggered a renewed national debate on this very issue. The first concerns the powers granted to the President and Secretary of Defense under the Patriot Act. The second issue pertains to the recently enacted law in Arizona that permits law enforcement officials to question the ethnicity and immigration status of individuals who are suspected of being in the United States illegally (SB 1070).
This paper examines the issues surrounding racial and criminal personality profiling and provides a comparative analysis of the two investigative strategies. It defines both terms and examines what types of behaviors and activities constitute criminal personality and racial profiling. The paper delves into some of the complex legal, constitutional and methodological factors that are fueling the public debate on the issues. The paper concludes with a discussion of what alternatives, if any, are available to the professionals who are charged with the protection of our national security.
The term profiling actually has its origins in a sub-field of mathematics. Statisticians utilize probability to apply a single observation to a general population. The profile is accurate within an acceptable level of error (Antanovics & Knight, 2009). The following