McCoy Training Advisors

Psychopaths and Crime

Would you like to know more about psychopaths? You should. Some experts

estimate that half of the officers killed by offenders are killed by psychopaths.

As always, knowledge is power and

being prepared is the difference between surviving and --not. Let us help you

learn to recognize and respond to psychopaths and individuals with

psychopathic tendencies. Please glance at

the following research and learn

more about these dangerous individuals.

Dr. D. McCoy



Were Wolfgang's chronic offenders psychopaths? On the convergent validity

between psychopathy and career criminality

Michael G. Vaughn Matt DeLisi b,

School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, United States

b Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, 203A East Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070, United States


Both the criminal career and psychopathy literatures have empirically shown that approximately 5 percent of the criminal population accounts

for the preponderance of the incidence of crime; however, these areas of inquiry are largely independent. The current study sought to integrate

these literatures using a state population of incarcerated delinquents (n = 723). Descriptive, regression, and ROC-AUC analyses produced

significant evidence of the effects of personality and affective psychopathic traits on career criminality net the effects of demographic and mental

health controls. Psychopathic traits nearly doubled the total explanatory power of the regression model for career criminality and correctly

predicted career criminal membership with accuracies ranging from 70 to 88 percent. Implications of these findings and suggestions for increased

integration of criminal career and psychopathy research are proffered.

© 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


The seminal work that established the contemporary understanding

of career criminals was Delinquency in a Birth Cohort

published by Wolfgang, Figlio, and Sellin in 1972. The study

followed 9,945 males born in Philadelphia in 1945 and who

lived in the city at least from ages ten to eighteen. They found

that nearly two-thirds of the population never experienced a

police contact and that 35 percent of the population had. Based

on this, one can be comforted to know that most people in a

population are law-abiding to the extent that the police never

contact them for deviant behavior. For the minority of persons

whom were actually contacted by police, the police contacts

were rare occurrences occurring just once, twice, or three times.

On the other hand, some youth experienced more frequent

interaction with police. According to Wolfgang et al. (1972),

persons with five or more police contacts were chronic or

habitual offenders. Of the nearly 10,000 boys, only 627

members, just 6 percent of the population, qualified as habitual

offenders. The chronic 6 percent, however, accounted for 52

percent of the delinquency in the entire cohort, 63 percent of all

index offenses, 71 percent of the murders, 73 percent of the

rapes, 82 percent of the robberies, and 69 percent of the

aggravated assaults. Herein was the quantifiable evidence that a

small minority of high-rate offenders known as career criminals

were guilty of perpetrating the majority of all criminal acts in a


A second and improved study examined a cohort of 13,160

males and 14,000 females born in Philadelphia in 1958 (Tracy,

Wolfgang, & Figlio, 1990). Overall, the 1958 cohort committed

crime at higher rates than the 1945 cohort and demonstrated

greater involvement in the most serious forms of crime, but

roughly the same proportion of persons, 33 percent, experienced

arrest prior to adulthood. Approximately 7 percent of the

population members were habitual offenders, and they

accounted for 61 percent of all delinquency, 60 percent of the

murders, 75 percent of the rapes, 73 percent of the robberies,

and 65 percent of the aggravated assaults. Across research

designs, analytical methods, and data sources selected from

North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia,

criminologists have repeatedly affirmed the empirical regularity

that a small subgroup of offenders, or career criminals, accounts

for the bulk of delinquency occurring in a society (for reviews,

see Blumstein, Cohen, Roth, & Visher, 1986; DeLisi, 2005;

Moffitt, Caspi, Rutter, & Silva, 2001; Piquero, Farrington, &

Blmstein, 2003; Weiner, 1989).



The following article is from Bruce Rodgers

This is the cover of my book, The Manipulative Man as in appears in Romania. He just looks like someone you might want to interrogate--doesn't he? Dr. McCoy

Bruce Rodgers, author of this article

There are several important signs to help police officers recognize the possibility that they are dealing with a psychopath.

1.Review the arrest record. Psychopaths’ rap sheets will reflect a variety of crimes. Because of their immature need for immediate gratification, these persons’ crimes are extremely unpredictable. Unlike other criminals, who tend to develop a specialty and stick with it, psychopaths may commit a variety of crimes that range from sodomy to armed robbery and murder. Further, when they commit a crime they may not hesitate to kill non-resisting victims or witnesses just to experience the sensation of killing.

2. Police officers must develop the ability to recognize con men’s glib style of conversation. Coupled with psychopaths’ inability to follow through or engage in any behavior that is not self-seeking, this should tip off police officers to the kind of person they are dealing with.

3. If police officers find themselves excessively liking or hating a suspect who is being interviewed, that person might be a psychopath. From training and experience, most professionals will develop a professional attitude toward those with whom they come in contact. Generally, there are those whom they like, those whom they do not like, and even some toward whom they are indifferent. However, a person who gets them so irritated that they tend to lose their professionalism, or who stimulates them to rescue him or her, is possibly a psychopath.

4. .Police officers should very carefully consider as a possible psychopath the criminal who is able to involve many people in his or her behavior, crimes, and rescue. Cases presented in this chapter did not involve the psychopath alone.

5. Well-integrated and functioning psychopaths can usually beat a lie detector (polygraph), or at least produce an inconclusive result (Reese 1987). The polygraph measures certain physiological correlates of anxiety and guilt, such as skin response, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration; it is an “emotional detective.” If the test subject feels guilty or anxious about certain questions, there will be disturbances in the polygraphic pattern. However, since psychopaths are often immune to feelings of guilt and anxiety unless placed under severe stress, these physiological disturbances are not likely to appear, even when they respond to questions that might make the normal person feel guilt or anxiety.

6. Speech is often used to conceal thoughts. This is certainly true of psychopaths. They are completely capable of responding to vague questions with vague answers and to concrete questions with concrete answers. In this way, they are often able to persuade themselves that they are telling the truth. For example, if an officer asks a psychopathic suspect a vague question such as “What did you do after leaving Los Angeles?” he may reply that he took a plane to Denver. He conveniently omits his stopover in Las Vegas, where he participated in three armed robberies, or in Tucson, where he committed two rapes. As another example, if the officer asks him if he has ever been in jail before, he may answer “No!” since he can rationalize that the officer is talking about this particular jail. However, he may have been in several other jails and/or a state or federal penitentiary. Unless specifically asked, he will conclude, with proper justification to himself, that he has not lied in answering the question. Consequently, it is easy to become discouraged when interviewing psychopaths. It may often be necessary to repeat the question several times and formulate it in different ways. Only persistent and careful questioning will elicit the necessary information. However, if this procedure is done with hostility, psychopaths are likely to clam up and not respond to further questioning.

7. It is important not to bluff psychopaths. They are masters of bluffing and are certainly better than most officers. The best way to interview psychopaths is to prepare carefully by knowing every detail of the case.

8. It is important to be firm and clear with suspected psychopaths. Police officers should say exactly what they mean and set appropriate limits on a subject’s actions. These tactics are critical to effective handling of psychopaths. Although psychopaths can be very charming, they can also make officers very angry and may maneuver officers into a situation in which they violate the suspects’ rights. Avoid this possibility.

Differences between Lawbreakers and Psychopaths While it is true that many criminals show some evidence of psychopathic behavior, there are important differences between ordinary lawbreakers and psychopaths.

1. Ordinary lawbreakers are most often motivated by what their crime will net them, whether it is $25,000 from a bank robbery or another profitable venture. Psychopaths, on the other hand, often steal things for which they have no particular use. They may forge a check for a small amount when they have more than that in their pockets.

2. Ordinary lawbreakers seek to avoid detection and apprehension. Psychopaths do likewise for a period of time, but if they go undetected for too long, they may commit foolish crimes and leave telltale clues behind that tend to ensure apprehension.

3. Ordinary lawbreakers will avoid the police and not volunteer to help them solve crimes. On the other hand, psychopaths often see their criminal activities as a game between themselves and the police and are often detected in this way. For example, journalist Ann Rule (1986) wrote about Ted Bundy: “His cunning jousts with police were always akin to Dungeons and Dragons, and he so delighted in outwitting them, watching them scurry around to do what he considered his bidding.”

4. Ordinary lawbreakers generally maintain some creed of loyalty to friends, family, or even to their opposition to society. However, psychopaths are uncommitted, with loyalty to no one and no sincerely held attitudes for or against anything.











Investigating the Psychopath

Since psychopaths are pathological liars and their every interaction with others is self-serving and strategic, even seasoned investigators and forensic psychologists have great difficulty dealing with them. Basically, they’re always faced with the liar’s paradox yet still need to get useful and true information from them.

Katherine Ramsland (from wrote an excellent article about how investigators deal with the inevitable obstacles and difficulties they encounter when attempting to retrieve true information from psychopaths about their crimes. I’m pasting part of her article below:


It’s not easy to know when to trust someone who has already exploited trust as a route to torture, rape and murder. Psychopathic killers view their victims as objects, useful only as pawns in their own personal game, and they thus have this advantage: they feel no remorse. They’re callous, manipulative and resistant to therapy, and when they choose to communicate, they have their own agendas, formed in self-interest and calculation. What we may accept as a “confession,” they may view as bait. Their motives take shape within a framework that has no equivalent in the normal world. That’s why we can’t just accept what...for the rest of the article click on link below

Interrogating the Psychopath

Frank Perri JD, MBA, CPA, and Terrance G. Lichtenwald, PhD


This study is the second in a series devoted to understanding red-collar criminals. The first study,

“Fraud Detection Homicide: A Proposed FBI Criminal Classification” (Perri & Lichtenwald,

2007) advanced the proposition that there is a sub-group of white-collar criminals who are capable

of vicious and brutal violence against individuals whom they believe have detected their

white-collar crimes. The sub-group is referred to as red-collar criminals.

This study examines why red-collar criminals are not capable of committing violence against

their victims without exposing both their white-collar crime and the violent crime. The descriptive

data suggests that the evidence trail left by the red-collar criminal both illustrates the

red-collar criminal’s failure in avoiding detection and reveals his or her motive for the murder.

Further, the findings related to red-collar criminals correlate with the behavioral traits of psychopathy.

The authors analyze the law enforcement interrogation of Christopher Porco and offer suggestions

as to how investigators should approach interviews with psychopathic defendants. The

transcript is a critical tableau demonstrating that traditional methods of interrogation may not

suffice when it comes to the interrogatation of red collar criminals and that an alternative approach

may be required.

The Arrogant Chameleons:

Mask of Sanity, Dr. Hervey Cleckley (website address to download the entire book--free)


Here is a mask the psychopath might wear. But there are others, many others. The first mask you see will be handsome and charming. Then you will see this. Is there anything behind the masks--probably not.

He Done Us Wrong! The Highly Skilled Corporate Psychopath 

Written by Brian Basham

Outlook Over the years I've met my fair share of monsters – rogue individuals, for the most part. But as regulation in the UK and the US has loosened its restraints, the monsters have proliferated.

In a paper recently published in the Journal of Business Ethics entitled "The Corporate Psychopaths: Theory of the Global Financial Crisis", Clive R Boddy identifies these people as psychopaths.

"They are," he says, "simply the 1 per cent of people who have no conscience or empathy." And he argues: "Psychopaths, rising to key senior positions within modern financial corporations, where they are able to influence the moral climate of the whole organisation and yield considerable power, have largely caused the [banking] crisis'.

And Mr Boddy is not alone. In Jon Ronson's widely acclaimed book The Psychopath Test, Professor Robert Hare told the author: "I should have spent some time inside the Stock Exchange as well. Serial killer psychopaths ruin families. Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies."

Cut to a pleasantly warm evening in Bahrain. My companion, a senior UK investment banker and I, are discussing the most successful banking types we know and what makes them tick. I argue that they often conform to the characteristics displayed by social psychopaths. To my surprise, my friend agrees.

For the rest of the story go to-