Behavioral Analysis Unit
The FBI

Behavioral Analysis Unit


Q: What is the history of the Behavioral Analysis Unit?
1974: The Behavioral Science Unit (BAU) is created to investigate serial rape and homicide cases. There were originally eleven agents and it was a part of the Training Division.


1984: The Behavioral Science Unit split into the Behavioral Science Unit and the Behavioral Science Investigative Support Unit. The Behavioral Science Unit became primarily responsible for the training of FBI National Academy students in the variety of specialized topics concerning the behaviour and social sciences, and the Behavioral Science Investigative SupportUnit became primarily responsible for the investigation of criminals.

1994: The Critical Incident Response Group integrated the FBI's crisis management, behavioral, and tactical resources within one entity. The name changed again to the Investigative Support Unit.

1997: The program then evolved into the Behavioral Analysis Unit.

The Terrorist Attacks of 2001

Created a need to restructure- wanted to make sure the government is accurately prepared to handle new threats to the nation.

2001: The Behavioral Analysis Unit is divided into three units.

Q: What is the mission of the BAU?

The mission of the Behavioral Analysis Units (BAU) is to provide operational support for complex and time-sensitive cases and other matters through the application of investigative case experience, education, specialized training, and research. Each unit has distinct responsibilities: 

Behavioral Analysis Unit 1 (counterterrorism and threat assessment): Resources are focused on matters involving terrorism, threats, arson, bombings, stalking, cyber-related violations, and anticipated or active crisis situations.

Behavioral Analysis Unit 2 (crimes against adults): Resources are primarily focused on serial, spree, mass, and other murders; sexual assaults; kidnappings; missing person cases; and other violent crimes targeting adult victims. BAU 2 also provides assistance in potentially non-violent investigations, such as white-collar crime, public corruption, organised crime, and civil rights matters.

Behavioral Analysis Unit 3 (crimes against children): Resources are focused on crimes perpetrated against child victims, including abductions, mysterious disappearances of children, homicides, and sexual victimization.

Q: What are some services provided by the BAU?

Services provided by the behavioral analysis units include:

  • Crime analysis;
  • Profiles of unknown offenders;
  • Linkage analysis;
  • Investigative suggestions;
  • Threat assessments;
  • Interview strategies;
  • Media strategies;
  • Search warrant affidavit assistance;
  • Prosecution and trial strategies;
  • Expert testimony;
  • Critical incident analysis; and 
  • Geographic profiling (provided through an agreement with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives).