The Crime Classification Manual: The flawed guide to waging war on criminals.

Not all war manuals are about overt wars. When you have Us Versus Them Dynamic, what you have is a war manual.

Psychologists have the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), but it is not a war manual per se.

The FBI has something that seems similar and was created using the DSM as its model and that is called the Crime Classification Manual, Third Edition (CCM).


However, the CCM can be classified as a war manual for a very specific reason: psychologists are dealing with people who are dysfunctional beyond their control in some significant way, and often, the disorder is organic.

Police are dealing with someone who has committed a crime and is trying to elude them. The war may be smaller in scale, but it is an antagonist dynamic. With psychologists, many times, the patient is distressed and is coming to them. Because of the different dynamics and circumstances, the similarities are cosmetic.

The manuals are two different beasts.

I have all three editions, and you can see the second edition here.

The CCM is a highly-flawed manual. It is not as if it is worthless or useless, but the flaw in its design is significant.

It is worth reading for case studies. It is worth reading to see how law enforcement interprets criminal behaviour.

It is also worth reading to see a glaring display of the confirmation bias.

People look for evidence that confirms their theories, not the evidence that refutes them.

And the CCM is no different. The blind spot has ramifications that need to be taken into account.

So what is the problem with the CCM — all three versions of them?

They strictly look at cases where there was a conviction of the right person. False positives, such as wrongful convictions or even unsolved cases aren’t actually taken into consideration.

And this void shows.

So, for example, if we have someone doing a criminal profile on a killer, you will often hear the profiler or detective say, “This is a very angry person.”

Sounds legitimate, but how many angry people are actually killers? People who throw tantrums and let out steam — or even bully others — get it out of their system, and don’t ever kill.

Drawing attention to anger doesn’t actually give you anything useful.

In fact, this makes the CCM not much better than a psychic’s cold reading. A young woman comes to me, I can guess that she is worried about money or her romantic life — or both. If she is older, I can add health to it.

If I am a local psychic and there is a factory that closed, I can put on quite the act “guessing” finances are the main concern.

So, here is a manual that mimics one that psychologists use, but its inherent flaw makes it more in line with carny tactics.

The book is heavily based on US cultural norms and biases, for instance. There are many elements missing from it.

In other words, it is not as helpful as it first appears. It is well-researched, but there are serious deficits that does not give it the reliability, validity, and utility it claims it does…