Concept of the Month -- April 2003

"Out of Character Crime" is Not Out of Character

When a person commits a crime that seems totally alien to his personality and background, people are puzzled and shocked. In my experience, a crime only appears to be "out of character." If you develop a thorough understanding of the perpetrator's mental makeup, you will learn that there is precedent if not in behavior, then in thinking for the crime to occur. The quiet man who murders his wife in the heat of an argument may not have planned the homicide in terms of a specific date, time, and place. However, in his mind, he had killed her many times during previous conflicts. This is a person who, instead of coping with the adversity, fantasized numerous times destroying the adversity. Thus the occasion in which the actual crime occurs truly reveals the perpetrator. It is within character if one only knows his or her true character.

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