SOC 2760 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Bsc Young Boys, Serial Killer, Homicide

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10 Aug 2016
Chapter 3: Serial Murder – page #43-55:
Prevalence of Serial Murder:
Serial murder involves a string of 4 or more homicides committed by one or a few
perpetrators that spans a period of days, weeks, months, or even years
Linkage blindness investigators are not always able to connect homicides, separated over
time and space, to the activities of a single perpetrator, particularly murder sprees that cross
jurisdictional boundaries
The data on the 592 known killers or killing teams can be used to examine long-term trends
in serial homicide, subject to important methodological caveats concerning the completeness
of the database
These data exclude unsolved and undetected cases, and it is also possible that some more
obscure killing sprees have escaped the attention of those who have chronicled such events
Although rapid growth into the 1980s clearly suggests significant shifts in the prevalence of
serial murder, these results are vulnerable, at least in part, to alternative explanations related
to changes in data accessibility and quality of record keeping
As interest in serial murder increased, so did the likelihood that case histories would be
published in some fashion, and, as law enforcement became better equipped to identify
linkages between victims slain by the same killer or killers, the detection of serial crimes and
criminals became more likely
The trend in serial killings into the 1980s is quite consistent with a more general rise in violent
crime, including homicide, as well as in the resident population, strongly suggesting that the
surge in serial murder is more than just an artifact of increased reporting and improved
The 1980s were an unusual era in terms of the serial murder phenomenon not only was the
term itself coined at the beginning of the decade, and the prevalence of serial killing surely
peaked during that time, but both fear and fascination surrounding serial killers were
widespread during those years
Even as the attention from the popular media and the academic community remained strong,
however, the prevalence of serial homicide appears to have diminished over the past decade
or two
This decline parallels a sharp downturn in all forms of murder during the 1990s and is to
some extent due to many of the same factors:
o The growth in prison populations kept many violent predators and many potential
serial killers safely behind bars
o Improved law enforcement investigative techniques development of DNA
profiling and databases as well as interagency communication
o Other advances in technology Amber Alerts, sex offender registries,
surveillance cameras, GPS tracking of mobile phones and vehicles, and
monitoring social media and chat rooms
There are other social and cultural changes that may have impacted the behaviour of certain
offenders or would-be offenders as well as would-be victims
o The internet has provided such individuals a wide variety of options with which
potentially to satiate their sadistic desires without resorting to murder
Technology has also provided greater safety for potential victims
o Cell phones and camera functions have added some level of protection form
The greater awareness of serial offender has significantly increased the level of caution about
accepting rides or gifts from total strangers
Whatever the extent of decline during the 1990s and beyond, and whatever the reasons for it,
the problem of serial murder remains a difficult and perplexing one for law enforcement and,
of course, for the general public that could be victimized by these predators
Extraordinarily Ordinary:
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