What does a term “serial killer”ť mean? In accordance to David Wilson’s article “So what makes a serial killer?”ť it is someone “who has murdered at least three people over more than 30 days with gaps of time between victims. Serial killers usually work alone, kill strangers and kill for the sake of killing”ť. (2)
The term itself was created in the mid-1970s and the origin of this definition comes from the definition “crimes in a series”ť that was used by British police.
It is known that the proportion of killers produced by America is more than any other nation. According to K. Sohail, “there is a fascinating statistics that incidence of the serial killers has been gradually increasing worldwide. It is known that America has the highest rate of killings per capita”ť (6)
The trend for killing’s rate is intriguing: at first till 1960s extraordinary events happened once a decade, but by 1980s anomalies have appeared on a monthly basis.
Why such a shocking growing has happened in the previous years and mainly in America? This issue became substantial for many of the psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists. It’s a multiple influence of many factors that create a “monster”ť.
What can be done in order to decrease the number of serial killers and prevent their appearance? Among the major methods are psychological profiling, special adaptation programs, etc.
Luckily, nowadays, authorities are able to classify killers, profile them, and provide crime analysis, with a usage of mapping software, scientific evidence and signature clues. (qtd. in Baker, n.pag.)
Factors that influence serial killers and mass murders appearance
Among the reasons of such tendency many theorists name industrial revolution, economic or social injustices, incl. poverty, racial prejudice and unjust treatment of minorities. (qtd. in Sohail, 7).
Other researchers presume that s crucial factor may be an emotional insecurity that makes moral bankrupts to pick up guns to kill. They believe that emotional insecurity has a much stronger impact on the breeding of the potential killers than financial insecurity.
Beside it, some researchers make a point about the influence of American Dream as well. People are used to have big dreams, but when these dreams are shattered, the disappointment may lead to tragedies.
We should mention the influence of the troubled childhood and so called MacDonald triad which includes three behaviors in childhood that are common for the future killers. These characteristics are: bed-wetting, arson and cruelty to animals. Other conditions include broken homes and been abused or neglected.
Typology of serial killers
There are a few options of the serial killers’ classification. Thomas Baker states that “the FBI classifies serial killers into two categories: organized and disorganized typologies. A third category, mixed typology, is less helpful to investigators when profiling the offender and his crime scene.”ť (n.pag.).
A mental disorder is a common characteristic of the disorganized killers. This serial killer is spontaneous, chaotic and unplanned. The good thing is that this type of serial killer has a higher probability of detection. Disorganized killers have a high probability of being noticed by a local community, due to the fact that their strange behavior may attract someone’s suspicion. (qtd. in
“Hunting Serial Killers”ť by Thomas E. Baker).
On the contrary, the detention of the organized killers is quite complicated. They are socially adequate, may be well educated, may have a family, and are considered to be respected members of the local community.
Therefore, at the crime scene a few trace evidence clues will b found and the unfortunately with time the chances of valuable clues are disappearing.
Taking into account the mentioned above, theorists make a conclusion, that an average “identified serial killer is organized and nonsocial, and more than 80 percent of serial killers are male, Caucasian and in their 20s or 30s. And another interesting conclusion is that there’s no way to “tell”ť a serial killer simply by his appearance – most of them look like everyone else.”ť (qtd. in Petherick, 189)