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Surveillance of Behavior: A Look At The BAU

October 26, 2011 Lowell Bradford News & Articles,Blog 0 Comments


Surveillance of Behavior: A Look At The BAU

If you have ever watched crime television, or spent an hour watching programs such as The Shield, 24 or Columbo; you already know that to get to the bottom of a crime takes a lot of team work from professionals involved in criminal justice. This is not a one-man show bringing law, order and justice, which is sometimes portrayed as such on TV. Nor are cases solved in the real world in an hour time span like Perry Mason. In criminal justice, the men and women are professionals who do more than solve crimes, they prevent them too. They are responsible for protecting life, property, and citizen’s rights, enforcing the law and maintaining order in a society. Individuals working in the criminal justice system deal with such things as the arrest, detention, prosecution and rehabilitation of individuals to name a few. They work in the police department, court systems and in the correction establishments. There are many departments or units within the criminal justice system. With a bachelor’s degree to back you up, a person can work as a CIA agent, body guard, deportation officer, deputy marshal, discrimination investigator, corrections officer or a customs agent. The choices are many, including that of an FBI agent working in the Behavior Analysis Unit, or the BAU. This is the unit that looks at the behavior of an individual who has committed a murder, rape or a kidnapping. This unit gives support to law enforcement, digging deep into the mindset of the criminal, seeking out the why factor behind a criminal offense. Below, we are going to take a closer look at the BAU units within the FBI.

Behavior Analysis Unit 1 (Counter Terrorism and Threat Assessment)

Anyone working in this unit of the BAU will find themselves investigation such situations as terrorism in all forms. This includes that of threats involving bombings and arson. Such cases for this unit include that of the 9-11 terrorist investigations. This unit also investigates violations that involve stalking and internet crimes. When there is a threatening crisis, rather immediate or anticipated, this department will make all the assessments of the emergency and then respond accordingly. Agents will analyze and review criminal acts through both a behavioral and investigative viewpoint. To get involved with this unit, a person must have a bachelor’s degree in one of the following: criminal justice, sociology, criminology and psychology. They must have at least five years of experience in investigating major crimes, which means an agent’s profile is backed up with knowledge, skills, training and first hand experience.

Behavior Analysis Unit 2 (Crimes against Adults)

In unit 2, this department of FBI agents investigate and analyze crimes targeted toward adults. These crime cases includes murders on all levels; killing sprees, mass murders and serial killings. These agents also get involved with adult kidnappings, sexual assaults of adult victims. They also investigate the report of missing adult people, like the case of Donna Lass, an American nurse who disappeared in 1970. This unit also looks into crimes of other natures too; they investigate white-collar crimes, organized crimes and crimes violating civil rights. Getting involved in this unit means that to become a special agent, one must automatically obtain 8-10 years of experience. They must attend an FBI Training Academy and have a professional degree. Other positions in this unit include becoming a professional staff member, specializing in certain fields associated with the FBI. These positions do not give the title of “special agent,” therefore the training is different and less extensive then becoming a special agent.

Behavior Analysis Unit 3 (Crimes against Children)

When it comes to crimes against children, it is Unit 3 of the Behavioral Analysis Department that come to their rescue or aid involving criminal abuse. This unit investigates the cases of abductions, disappearances, homicides and sexual abuse cases perpetrated on the young, innocent and defenseless. One such case that involved abduction is that of the mysterious disappearance of the Beaumont children during the 1960’s. Another case investigated by this unit is that of Karla Homolka, who raped, tortured and killed innocent children, including her sister who became one of her victims. Since this unit is part of the FBI department, it goes without saying that to become an agent working in this special unit, your training will begin at the FBI Academy. Regardless if you want to become a special agent or just a professional person of their personnel, specializing in a certain area within the department, your training will begin with education and experience.


When it comes to working and getting involved with this task team of the BAU, the individual will give support to investigations and operations. For the whole purpose of this task force is to give operational support for cases which are complex and time sensitive. But this does not happen without individuals being educated and trained in research and investigative operations. Your assistance, knowledge, skills and training will benefit other agencies in federal, local, state and international law enforcement. As a professional staff member, you get a chance to work on cases that will involve your expertise or input. You may be selected to do onsite consultations or make conference calls, working beside a department coordinator who provides specific services for different situations. As a special agent you will get a chance to unlock the hidden secrets of the criminal mind as you discover the why factor behind a crime scene, its victim and the perpetrator at hand.

For more information about Criminal justice and the BAU, please see the following links.

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