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Profiling is a technique used in law enforcement to help narrow the field of potential criminal suspects. Investigators compile a list of characteristics (a "profile") likely to be descriptive of a crime's perpetrator, and then alter the focus of an investigation accordingly. A simple example of profiling would be airport security personnel looking for nervous individuals wearing bulky clothes and subjecting them to more thorough searches, since people who carry dangerous devices are more likely to fit that description. However, profiling can be extended to include complex information about behaviors, tendencies, and psychological characteristics in addition to physical identifiers.

Mental Profiling

Experts in psychology and psychiatry are occasionally called upon to generate mental profiles of criminals. Such profiles are usually reserved for high-profile cases, repeat offenders, or particularly heinous offenses, as in cases involving serial killers.

Racial Profiling

For a more detailed treatment, see Racial profiling.

The use of race as a profiling characteristic is controversial due to critics, mostly liberals, objecting due to concerns over discrimination and reinforcement of negative racial stereotypes.

Liberal Profiling

Profiling may be used to identify liberals by their characteristics. For instance, someone who actively engages in deceit, questionable science, absurdities, hysteria, dubious methodology, logic, and embraces the values of Hollywood and academia is overwhelmingly likely to be liberal.