The Instigator
Paradigm_Lost
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
girbrother2
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

Police profiling has some merit

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/14/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,112 times Debate No: 4031
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (7)

 

Paradigm_Lost

Pro

Police profiling has attached to it a negative stigma. This is due, at least in part, to the fact that it is often automatically associated with "racial profiling." From the outset, I want to clarify that I do not agree with the basic premise of racial profiling for the reasons of it being ineffective, inaccurate, and harbors a racist outlook.

For instance, any police officer or federal agent who honestly believes that a certain race is more prone to crime is not understanding how profiling works. While it is true that a certain demographic may be more prone to crime for a myriad of reasons (all of which I will expound on later) but not a certain race. There is no such thing as a "bad" gene that is transmitted or encoded via DNA.

With that simple clarification, let us discuss why profiling is often beneficial.

The FBI has been using profiling for a couple of decades now with enormous success. There is an actual science to profiling, it is not some wild guess. Allow me to define police profiling to the best of my ability. Profiling is the building of a suspect composite based upon preexisting physical evidence. Profiling examines evidence that yield specific behavioral patterns. From there, a psychological profile can be built from the ground up, thus increasing the liklihood of capture exponentially.

I would like for CON to prove or persuade the audience on why profiling has no benefit.

I look forward to the debate with my challenger.
girbrother2

Con

I'm going to play the devil's advocate here, (I'm actually for profiling, but I just like debating!)

Police profiling is simple, for now, however tomorrow, say 10-20 years, what will it be like? It would reflect the government's veiws! So, today, not saying that the governments racist, the government looks mainly in the ghettos and such, but tomorrow, what if the trouble is not that some ethnicity is causing troubles, but instead a radical Jewish group blows up the Statue of Liberty, not saying that Jews are going to do so, then the government would look for Jews, and what if Paul Policeman had a brother who died in the explosion, we would have a big problem on our hands!

Also, is profiling practical? What if we had an african american policeman? would he not, today at least, go lenient on the very people his Chief ordered him to profile?

Is it not against one's constitutional rights, unfaliable and nonflexible, to be profiled on the basis of religion, that's #1, or, if one created a criticising newspaper article, and was profiled against, would that not be against the right of free(to an extent)speech, that's #'s 1 and 1 again?
Debate Round No. 1
Paradigm_Lost

Pro

Thank you for accepting the debate. I'm looking forward to it.

"Police profiling is simple, for now, however tomorrow, say 10-20 years, what will it be like? It would reflect the government's veiws!"

Sure, and pigs COULD fly in 10-20 years too, hypothetically. Damn near anything could happen, however, if there is no substantial reason other than speculation and wild vagaries, you are going to have to give persuasive reasons why it would reflect the government views. Moreover, the government is a conglomerate comprised of many different people with varying opinions. The "government," though it acts as a single entity for purposes of cohesion, it does not mean that people are not entitled to their private opinions just like any other citizen. As a microcosm of society, governments also act on behalf of its constituents. In fact, it is its sole purpose as per the Constitution.

It seems to me, then, that if you are going to make speculations, in the very least, there has to be some factor or reason that would substantiate the possibility. Otherwise, we could just as easily say that profiling will only get more sophisticated with time and work out its kinks.

"what if the trouble is not that some ethnicity is causing troubles, but instead a radical Jewish group blows up the Statue of Liberty"

What if there are no police men in 20 years? What if in 20 years, police officers will be cyborgs that turn on their human masters and we have fight a war with robots? I mean, this is useless speculation. You are going to have to present compelling reasons why I should assume your assertion is realistic and plausible. Possible is very, very different from plausible, and plausible is very different from probable.

"What if we had an african american policeman? would he not, today at least, go lenient on the very people his Chief ordered him to profile?"

Then he has no idea what profiling is for. Profiling is specific to psychology, not skin tone. When looking for serial killers, certain psycholigical composites are drawn up by looking at a specific demographic that have been shown to historically and statistically be prone to such crimes. Besides, it is simply a tool.

Think of it this way: Have you ever seen the movie, "Seven," with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman? There was a scene where Freeman's character employs the help of an FBI agent. In order to help narrow down the list of possible suspects, Freeman requests information in library searches. He is looking for people who are reading a lot about the Seven Deadly Sins. Why? Because someone who seems to spend an inordinate amount of time reading about such topics will invariably lead you to probable suspects. And when Freeman is explaining this to Pitt, he mentions that you cannot prosecute using this information because its subjective. And that's true. However, monitoring reading habits is a great way to lead you to people fascinated with certain crimes.

Furthermore, people profile all the time whether they are aware of it or not. If you know someone who seems obsessed with a certain type of sport, and notice memorabilia all over their home, speak about it incessantly, etc, chances are you have a sports fan on your hand. Why not utilize this natural human instinct to catch criminals? If you have a BTK copycat killer in your city, and you just so happen to stumble upon information about a guy obsessed with this murderer, aren't you going to follow that lead? Sure, its not something you can prosecute with, but it IS a useful guide that could reasonably lead you to hard evidence.

For these FEW reasons, and so many more, I say that profiling a legitimate discipline that can lead to justice. So why must people speak so disparagingly about it? Perhaps it is just ignorance. If so, I hope this debate will shed some positive light on the subject.
girbrother2

Con

Let us assume that we must decide for next year, as anything could be solved with enough time so it's easier to assume we are in the present. In 1984 by George Orwell, he introduces the concept of "thoughtcrime" where even ones thoughts, whether inoccent or no, can incriminate you. If we were to modify this theory, we can see the concept of appearancecrime, where ones LOOKS can be incriminating. This is not the same as a discription, which is evidence, but ones looks can fully send one to jail. To give the government the right to profile is saying "hey you, you where a green shirt, there have been crimes commited by people who where green shirts, I'll bring you in for interrogation, to confirm your guilt!". If one gives the government to much power, it will take the power away from you.
Debate Round No. 2
Paradigm_Lost

Pro

Before we part ways I would like to say that it was a pleasure debating you, and I hope that we can continue our dialogue at another time. Best of luck to you.

With that, lets finish up.

"In 1984 by George Orwell, he introduces the concept of "thoughtcrime" where even ones thoughts, whether inoccent or no, can incriminate you. If we were to modify this theory, we can see the concept of appearancecrime, where ones LOOKS can be incriminating."

Immaterial, because that isn't what profiling is. Profiling is a cognitive theory to establish behavioral composites. I hardly see how you can invoke Animal Farm in to this debate because it is completely speculative.

I can think of a few legitimate CON arguments for profiling, but what you are suggesting is specious and borderline conspiratorial. Unless you can reasonably connect point A (profiling) to point B (thought crime), I see no reason for even mentioning it. As delicately as I can put it... it's silly. I really see no further need to indulge this kind of nonsense.

In closing I want to point out the positive aspects of profiling. A profiler will examine all available evidence from any given crime scene, then juxtapose the information gathered by similar crimes. The attempt is to establish patterns specific to a demographic. From there they can establish certain behaviors of, say, a killer, and hopefully can narrow a suspect down to a certain type of individual with certain predilections, but most importantly, trends that might lead the police to them.

For instance, certain serial killers are prone to ritualizing the crime scene. They usually have a modus operandi specific to them. All of these M.O.'s have meaning to them for the killer -- the placement of the victims body, the way they killed their victim, the intentional clues they left, etc. These are often as unique as signatures and finger prints. Criminal psychologists can establish trends of narcissism, delusions of grandeur, impotence, low self-esteem, sociopathy, psychopathy, former child abuse, probable age, level of intelligence, eccentricity, etc, etc... the list goes on.

As I said earlier, there is a science to this. These aren't guesstimates, these inferences are borne out of careful study of empirical evidence and/or psychological profiles.

"Investigative Psychology grows directly out of empirical research and logical inference to cover the full range of investigative activities not only the preparation of 'profiles'. The inference processes at the heart of Investigative Psychology contrast with the approach used in the FBI which emphasises subjective processes such as "thinking like the criminal". Investigative Psychology stresses that the results of scientific psychology can contribute to many aspects of civilian and criminal investigation, including the full range of crimes from burglary to terrorism, not just those extreme crimes of violence that have an obvious psychopathic component."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org...

I therefore can't stress enough that criminal profiling is an invaluable. Like anything else, it is not a perfect science, but it is indeed a science nonetheless which has yielded many positive aspects -- namely, getting sex offenders, rapists, serial killers, and spree killers off of the streets.

For these reasons, vote PRO!
girbrother2

Con

I did not mean to say that the day that it is instituted, it will turn into a big injust and corrupt system. My belief is that once we give the government enough power to say that one group of people are "suspicious" and one group is not, we give it leeway to run amok. What we have today is not profiling in the sense that black men who are 6'1" commit the most ammount of crimes and there fore should be singled out, or at least should have the government's finger pressing down on them, but more of a practical approach. This practical approach is what police do today, they note which race, neighborhood, e.t.c. cause the most ammount of trouble and decide to keep an eye out for them.

Of course, it is usefull to look at all the evidence of a crime and piece together the clues as to who did it. However, as you pointed out, killers have a style as unique as a fingerprint, so, once a certain killer is caught, there will be no use, whatsoever, to use the same standards of looking at diferent crimes by different people, would there? If each time John the tearer killed someone, he left a little note in the mouth of the victim as to his location and we catch him, but another person starts killing and leaves a note in the dresser, would it do any good to look in the mouth of the victim?

Might I remind you that serial killers, despite the media's hype, are excedingly rare. A more common crime is drug dealing, in which profiling is much more useful. However profiling accuses the whole for what the part did. If 100 Swiss men commited suicide, would we profile all Swiss men, saying that since a bunch of them killed themselves, they all must have suicidal tendancies? Of course not, because in each race, gender, country, et cetera, there will allways be a few oddballs and crazy people. Do we say that since we have a couple insane people in group A that all people in group A are likely to be insane?

Might I also remind you that in order to have a useful profiling system, we would need to go all the way, and to do that, we would need special programs. Programs to ensure the fair treatment of the profiled, because we all know that the ACLU would be screaching about fairness and such. Those extra programs would cost money, and a lot of money. Taxpayer money. YOUR MONEY! The money that should go towards roads and schools, not to some specialised idiot who talks about things that no one in thier right mind would want to listen to. What a waste!

I leave you with the definition of the word profiling, as put by Funk and Wagmalls standard family dictionary, :3)A short biographical sketch vividly presenting the MOST striking characteristics of a personality. Do we want to show only the most outlandish examples in a race and say that that is what the race is?

Thanks for the debate, it was rather fun.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Paradigm_Lost 9 years ago
Paradigm_Lost
"That was hard, you had me scrambling every which way!"

Sometimes taking a devil's advocate position is really difficult since you don't actually agree with your own arguments. However, taking a devil's advocate position really sharpens ones debate skills, so there is some value in it. You did a good job in that 3rd round. It was fun, thanks for the debate!
Posted by girbrother2 9 years ago
girbrother2
That was hard, you had me scrambling every which way!
Posted by Danielle 9 years ago
Danielle
Of course it has some merit.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by revleader5 9 years ago
revleader5
Paradigm_Lostgirbrother2Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by jiffy 9 years ago
jiffy
Paradigm_Lostgirbrother2Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by girbrother2 9 years ago
girbrother2
Paradigm_Lostgirbrother2Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Derek.Gunn 9 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Paradigm_Lostgirbrother2Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Bitz 9 years ago
Bitz
Paradigm_Lostgirbrother2Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by liberalconservative 9 years ago
liberalconservative
Paradigm_Lostgirbrother2Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by zdog234 9 years ago
zdog234
Paradigm_Lostgirbrother2Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30