Also see: Types of serial killers
The term serial killer was coined in the 1970s due to cases such as Ted Bundy and David Berkowitz. According to an FBI Behavioral Unit study 85% of the world's serial killers are in America. At any given time 20 - 50 unidentified active serial killers are active.
Experts disagree on the definition of a serial killer but general definitions are based on numbers and patterns. Two or more unrelated victims in distinctly separate incidents.
Prostitutes, runaways and transients are usually not promptly reported missing receive little police or media attention, making them targets.
Experts speculate unsolved serial killings that appear to stop may be due to death, institutionalization, relocation or stopped killing. Some turn themselves in.
The Northwest has a notorious history of prototype killers -- among them are Ted Bundy and the Green River Killer. Lesser known serial killers charged and/or convicted of one or two murders are often suspected of more.
A serial killer with Antisocial Personality Disorder may appear normal or charming, ("mask of sanity"). Sometimes there is a common sexual element to the murders such as gender, occupation, appearances, race, etc.
According to Mike Rustigan, professor of criminology at San Francisco State University:
"With all of them, their motives tend to be total, deep and personal. They feel no guilt, no remorse and have an attitude of total disdain towards their victims.
"There's a self-importance that runs in all of them. With the Unabomber, for example, he demanded that The Washington Post and The New York Times publish his manifesto. You get the feeling that if he had just laid low, he may have remained on the loose to this day. His own brother saw the manifesto in his home and he then contacted authorities. I feel he felt upstaged by the Oklahoma City bombing, which made everything he had done up to that point seem like nothing."
Tod W. Burke, professor of criminology at Radford University and a former police officer explains:
"Most profilers say serial killers don't learn from mistakes in their previous killings, but I believe they do. They try to improve on their previous effort. You know how the more you do something, the better you get at it? Well, there comes a point where you peak and you can only go down.
"With serial killers, a greed factor will set in where they'll believe the more they kill and get away with it, the easier it will be. And that's when they get sloppy and get caught."
Science, Intuition, and Hope: The Art of Personality Profiling
Emanuel Tanay, forensic psychiatrist, points out that Ohio serial killer 'Angel of Death," Larry Ralston, quit killing for 6 years while he worked in a morgue. Because he had enough involvement with death when he worked in a morgue, he didn't kill anybody. 'He was satisfied.'
Serial Killers (continued)
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