Serial murder is a complex phenomenon. While serial murderers often differ from their non-serial counterparts in many ways, at times they exhibit very similar traits and traits that are similar to those of spree killers. It is very important to understand which characteristics can best predict whether a crime will be a murder or a shootings as it is an aid to law enforcers and the courts. This study looked at 102 serial murderers, an analysis of their crimes and a comparison of their crimes in the police report with violent crimes reported in the 1970s, 2000s and police data for some 2007 shootings. The researcher found that, when serial shooters are identified early in the investigation, the outcome of the investigation can be increased. If a shooter is identified early it is possible to monitor and intervene with the shooter before continued escalation or escalation into multiple shooting locations occurs. Early screening could lead to a strategic approach to escalating the shooting episode into a more controlled, contained environment that will be under arrest. Approaches for early identification that have been effective include understanding the shooter’s background, psychological profile, location, and level of escalation. Problems associated with using this predictable approach are that under-resourcing in the early stages and the lack of sophisticated technologies to aid in alarm response can cause a delay in response.
Impact: This study is of national importance because it is the first to address five serious gaps in the literature on this topic. First, an examination of the evidence suggests that serial murder is not a clear-cut phenomenon. This study is the first to explore the issue of differentiation between serial killers and spree killers, finding that some serial murderers exhibit both characteristics; and it is the first to publish findings that female-only serial killers and mixed-sex serial killers both are “popular”; and, in the same study, the first to publish that some spree killers covertly nod like serial killers at some events. This study is the first to review and categorize the evidence condemning specific serial killers; and it is the first to publish a substantial array of materials concerning the legal and behavioral study of this topic. d2c66b5586