profile of a killer

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During the last decade the world has witnessed a staggering elevation in serial killings. To give some insight into the scale of the problem posed by the serial killer, in the United States can be gained from examining the statistics for just one year. In 1989 (the last year for which detailed figures are available) there were 21,500 recorded homicides, of which some 5,000 are unsolved. Unofficial sources believe that as many as a hundred serial killers may be at large at any given time. Add to this the number of known victims of serial killers, then between 3,500 and 5,000 people are killed by serial murderers every year. (Lane and Gregg 3) These numerous multiple murders, often without consequence and justice, have shocked civilized society with incomprehensible acts of inhumanity. Horrific amounts of body counts and volumes of spilt blood accompany the discovery of each new serial killer. The indescribable events associated with each murder leave such unanswered questions as: what deviations lurk in the mind of a serial killer, what provokes an individual to commit such hideous acts, and what can be done to reduce these inconceivable murders? There are a set of variable elements, which distinguish the "serial" murder from the single-incident ("normal") murder, the "mass" murder, and the "spree" murder. The "mass" murder can be defined as an act in which a single assailant kills a number of people during a short period of time in roughly the same geographical location. The "spree" murder can be defined as a multiple number of killings, which take place during a short period of time, hours or days. The "serial" murder exhibits five distinct sets of characteristics, which help distinguish it from the "mass" murder and "spree" murder. First, the killings are repetitive ("serial") and often escalate over a period of time, sometimes years, which will continue until the killer is taken into custody, dies, or himself is killed. Second, the killings, like "normal" homicides, tend to be one-on-one. Third, there is no, or very little, connection between the perpetrator and the victim. Fourth, although there may be a "pattern," or "victim trait," individual murders within a series rarely display a clearly defined or rational motive. Fi... ... middle of paper ... ...ny police agency, having an unsolved murder, will submit to the FBI Academy a thorough description of the case using a twenty-seven-page questionnaire. VICAP will then alert the crime analyst to similar cases nationwide. During my interview with Dr. James R. Metts, Sheriff of Lexington County S.C., he informed me of the procedures involved in the Shari Faye Smith and Debra May Helmick case. He noted that "the Behavioral Unit in the FBI was extremely helpful in solving this case by giving us a psychological profile of the perpetrator and advising us on how to handle the media throughout the case" (Metts). "America’s fascination with serial killers is reaching an all time high-and may be fueling their deadly deeds" (Toufexis 64-65). Serial killings graphic details in incomprehensible madness almost seem fictional, but the statistics reveal an alarming rise in these murders. Ignoring this terrifying fact will not make it disappear, only increase. The thought "It will not happen to me" is no longer logical due to the constant elevation of serial killings. These callous and meticulous killers are without prejudice or motive, leaving everyone susceptible.

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