In the last three decades the USA has been troubled by an approaching problem, the serial killer. A serial killer is a person who kills a number of people, usually considered over five, with a cooling off period between each murder, usually one murder at one given time). Two murders at one time occasionally happen and these murders may go on for a period of months or years until the killer is caught.
Throughout the last three decades the US serial killer rate has risen 94% and it is estimated that by the next millennium it will claim an average of 11 lives a day. Serial Murder is an epidemic; there are at least 35 serial killers active in the USA today who claim one third of the annual murder rate.
The USA has 6% of the world’s population yet it has three quarters of all serial killers. Not only are serial killers appearing in more numbers in the US but also all over the world countries are terrorized by serial killers, which are appearing in more numbers year and year after.
A serial killer is a typical white male, 20-30, and most of them are usually in the USA. Their main motives are sex (even though the act of sex may or may not take place), power, manipulation, domination and control. The sex motive is usually rape for an organized killer and sadism for a disorganized killer.
They act in a series of 5 or more murders with a cooling off period between each murder.
Serial killers can go on for months and years before they are usually caught. The victim is usually the same for every killer – prostitute, hitchhiker etc.
Their victims may also have the same or similar attributes in gender, age, race, general look, residence etc. Serial killers also stick by their modus operandi very closely and may change it with experience. Most murders occur by strangulation, suffocation, stabbing etc.
Serial killers act by a sex-murder fantasy based with their control, they usually live in this dream world in their teens until they act it out for real when they get into the adult stage.
As each murder occurs a serial killer may be disappointed by his murder fantasy and may act it out again to achieve it to there own satisfaction.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A SERIAL KILLER:
1. Killings are separate (‘serial’), occurring with greater or less frequency, often escalating over a period of time, sometimes years, and will continue until the killer is taken into custody, dies, or is himself/herself killed.
2. In common with normal homicides, killing tends to be one on one. There are instances however where a serial killer has struck down more than one victim in a single incident.
3. There is no (or very little) previous connection between the perpetrator and the victim; the persons involved rarely being related.
4. Although there may be a ‘pattern’ or ‘victim trait’, individual murders within a series rarely display a clearly defined or rational motive.
5. An increasingly greater spatial mobility (since the advent of the automobile) has enabled killers (if they wish) to move rapidly from one place to another, often before a murder has even been discovered.
6. There is usually a high degree of redundant violence, or an ‘overkill’, where the victim is subjected to a disproportionate level of brutality.
These are the motives a serial killer might display (some killers display various motives):
Visionaries – Acts in response to voices and is instructed by these voices to perform the act of murder. These killers are usually schizophrenic and psychotic.
Missionaries – They think it is their responsibility to rid society of unwanted elements.
Hedonists – Kill because murder causes them pleasure.
Lust Killers – Kill for sexual gratification with acts that are usually sadistic.
Thrill Killers – Kill because of a desire for a thrill or experience.
Gain Killers – Kill for personal gain. The killer premeditates the act to require financial gain or materialistic goods. While gain is not the main motive in a murder some serial killers have took the opportunity to steal from their victims for their own personal .