Real Life Crime

FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU)

The Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) is part of the FBI. It is an integral component of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC).

The agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations of the United States (FBI) that appear in the series “Criminal Minds” show the work of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) which help the local police through the creation of psychological profiles. However, the BAU also assists them with strategies to manage the media and conduct investigations and interrogations. The National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) is comprised of the Violent Criminal Detention Program and three Behavioral Analysis Units: terrorism and threat management, crimes against adults, and crimes against minors. A career in a BAU offers special agents the opportunity to assist in the resolution of serious crimes throughout the country.


The mission of the BAU is to provide information on the behavior of the individual based on research, and/or operational support, through the application of experience, research and training. The BAU receives requests from federal, state, local and international services. The response to these requests is provided through the field networker, or coordinator. However, contrary to popular belief, there is no position in the FBI called “a profiler,” a position commonly seen in television and film.

BAU assistance to law enforcement agencies must be enforced by the law provided through the process of “criminal investigation analysis.” The Criminal Investigation Analysis is a process of reviewing crimes, both from behavior and perspective research. It involves reviewing and evaluating the facts of a criminal act, delinquent behavioral interpretation, and interaction with the victim, as exhibited during the time of the crime, or as shown at the crime scene. The BAU looks at the detailed analysis of crimes in order to provide one or more of the following services: crime analysis, investigation suggestions, profiles of unknown offenders, threat analysis.

In addition to the aforementioned services, the BAU staff created the Response Plan for abducted children to help researchers who are faced with these investigations. The BAU maintains a reference file for experts in various forensic disciplines such as dentistry, anthropology, entomology, or pathology.

The mission of the behavioral analysts is always to provide operational support to the Research Units with the necessary knowledge in human and criminal behavior, never replacing the official investigations themselves who are the “owners” of each particular case.

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