Serial Murder

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UNIT 4 1

Running Head: UNIT 4

Unit 4 Assignment
Linda Branstrom
Kaplan University

CJ 266-01
Deviance and Violence
Professor Greg Matoesian, PhD
June 10, 2011

UNIT 4 2
While there have always been serial killers, their crime had no label until the 1950s. Criminologist James Reinhardt came up with the term chain killers in 1957. It wasn’t until three years later that German author Siegfried Kracauer first used the term serial murder. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines serial murder as “three or more separate events in three or more separate locations with a cooling off between homicides” (Douglas, Burgess, Burgess & Ressler, 1992). The FBI definition however, makes no allowance for killers such as Jeffery Dahmer, who murdered all of his victims in the same place. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) published a broader definition in 1988, describing serial murder as “a series of two or more murders, committed as separate events, usually, but not always by one offender acting alone. The crimes may occur over a period of time ranging from hours to years” (Newton, 2006). High profile investigations such as serial murder present multiple challenges for law enforcement. Identification of a homicide as a series presents the largest challenge. In the past, the first indication that a serial murder was at work was when more than one homicide could be linked through forensics or behavioral evidence. Due to extensive media coverage of high profile cases involving low risk victims, a homicide as a series has become easier to identify. In contrast, identifying a series involving high risk victims in multiple jurisdictions is much more difficult. This is primarily due to the victims high risk lifestyle and their transient nature. Lack of communication between the different law enforcement agencies and their different types of record management can also play a huge par in linking cases to a common...
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