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Serial murder occupies a unique position among other kinds of crime. First of all, it attracts the great attention of society and mass media. Also, a case unites many specialists. Moreover, not only police investigate crime, but also forensic psychologists participate. Besides, there are specific techniques that experts apply. On the other hand, despite all the horror of serial murders, some people and organizations popularize them. Another important aspect of the crime is the families of serial murderers and their role in this entire situation. It is also necessary to investigate the peculiarities of serial murders in other countries to receive an objective image of this notion.
The investigating methods have improved greatly since the times of Jack the Ripper. For instance, forensic psychology also relates to serial murders. First, “they are expected to testify in court, be a credible witness and interact with members of the judicial system” (Pickren). Also, forensic psychologists need to observe how honest defendants are. Apart from that, they evaluate the sanity and competency of the defendant. Finally, some of them counsel a victim’s family (Pickren).
Serial Murder Criminal Profiling
One of the most effective investigative and forensic methods is criminal profiling. It is divided into four phases and is used to profile possible killers and other criminals. The phases are antecedent, method and manner, body disposal, and post-offense behavior. This method has been applied in some cases since the Middle Ages. In general, the main idea and aim of criminal profiling are to create the image of the personality and nature of the killer by analyzing the manners in which a crime was committed (Pickren).
Investigators generally divide committed murders into three categories: mixed, disorganized, and organized. Each category has different features that murder can possess. The most difficult and the least predictable is a mixed profile serial killer. After analyzing all noticeable details, investigators create a profile. It includes such characteristics of a criminal as beliefs, living style, family relationships, etc. Then investigators search suspects with similar profile descriptions (Pickren).
However, police officers and other specialists need to be careful with these profiles and do not take them too literally because it can lead to ignoring real killers and suspects. Nevertheless, criminal profiling and forensic psychology have proved their utility. For example, well-known serial murderers Gary Leon Ridgway and the Green River Killer were captured with the help of this tool (Pickren).
Serial Murder "Geographic" Profiling
Apart from criminal profiling, detectives use the same methods as scientists for detecting savage diseases because both appear randomly and hunt their victims in a predictable pattern. For instance, police make a “geographic” profile, which demonstrates where the killer’s victims were found. Then, it searches suspects in places that are nearby because usually, killers commit a crime close to places where they live. It is less expensive than traveling somewhere far from home. On the other hand, killers hardly ever murder their close neighbors (Moran).
Despite all the horror and cruelty of serial murders, some people and organizations support them. Moreover, there are many bizarre websites that both popularize and glorify the massive killing of people. The most common topic that unites them is using people for satanic rituals. Today, these Satanist cults are suspected of committing many crimes throughout the United States. However, it is difficult to investigate such cases because they are conducted in secrecy. Nevertheless, police and society possess information about them. First, murderers kill people with ritualistic violence. Second, participants of Satanist cults consume illegal drugs such as marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, and others. Third, murderers are usually people with low self-esteem who seek power over others.
Finally, many people commit these crimes because they are bored, so new interesting rituals become entertainment for them. Also, joining Satanist Cults is a way of fighting psychological issues because people who commit serial murders or popularize them have a history of family or sexual abuse (Kouri). Besides, many of them consider killers as heroes because today mass media pay much attention to them. Society also discusses them. Moreover, there are many films about serial murders, which also gain significant popularity. Also, visitors of these websites have their own music, clothes, so they share the impressions and opinions about the following issues.
Serial Killers in Russia
However, serial murders are common not only in the United States but also in other countries. For instance, serial killers committed over 500 murders in Russia in the last three years. Unfortunately, investigators solved only 11 serial cases in 2007-2008. Also, according to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Investigation Committee website, these crimes have inhumane character and are dangerous for society. One of the recent crimes was committed by Alexander Pichushkin. This 33-year-old man was convicted of 48 murders in 2007. The distinctive feature of all his cases was marking off the victims on the squares of a chessboard. Therefore, the killer was nicknamed “chessboard killer” (“Serial Killers Have Murdered ‘over 500 in Russia in the Last 3 Years”).
Serial Killers in South Africa
As for the African continent, it is also inhabited by many serial murderers. For example, South African Mthunzi Mhaga was found guilty on 26 charges, including 13 murders. The criminal is nicknamed “sugarcane serial killer” because he threw bodies of his victims in sugarcane plantations around the country. Overall, South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world. According to South African police, 18,148 murders were committed there between April 2008 and March 2009. It means that killers murder about fifty people per day (“South African Serial Killer convicted of 13 murders”).
Serial Killers in the United States
The popularity of serial murders in the United States and other countries demonstrates that nationality, race, age, gender, and other similar characteristics do not play a dramatic role in forming a personality capable to murder many people with inhumane cruelty. However, researchers prove that there is a common feature in all murderers. They have experienced difficulties with their families. For example, they usually suffer from physical or sexual abuse. Besides, they do not have close relations with both parents due to the divorce of parents or their tyranny. Then, when children become adults, they transform their aggression and insult onto their innocent victims (Kouri).
To sum up, serial murders are becoming more and more popular nowadays. This kind of crime occurs all over the world, so all the people on the planet can potentially become victims of serial killers. Therefore, investigators continuously work on improving their methods of detecting a criminal. For example, today not only police officers investigate a case, but also forensic psychologists who usually check the competency of a defendant, his/her honesty, etc. Moreover, they can make a profile of a killer, which includes the description of personality, beliefs, occupation, relations with a family, and other characteristics. Besides, investigators apply “geographic” mapping. It means that they guess the place where a killer lives, analyzing the scene used for committing a crime.
However, such great attention also creates negative effects on society. In particular, killers become heroes of books, movies, and songs. Also, people make many websites where they glorify and praise serial murderers. The possible reason for this is a false image of a murderer created by mass media. However, they do not understand that real killers are not as mysterious, imaginative, and clever as it is believed. As a result, some ordinary people begin to copy their heroes and become members of Satan cults, which practice killing people for their rituals. As for factors that make a person become a serial killer, most psychologists believe that family plays an important role. Thus, most of the serial murderers did not have close relationships with their parents. Therefore, creating a warm, safe, and loving environment within families is one of the ways of preventing serial murders.