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Serial crime - multi-episode criminal acts (at least three), which the subject commits for non-obvious reasons with strangers at a certain interval sufficient for the criminal to become emotionally cooled.
Serial killers should be distinguished from mass killers (who kill many people for a short time without periods of emotional cooling) and from chain killers (who kill many people for a long time without periods of emotional cooling).
The term "serial killer" itself appeared in 1976 to describe the personality of Ted Bundy. The most famous serial killer is Jack the Ripper. Any mention of these people makes the man in the street tremble, and the name Chikatilo has become almost a household name in our country.
They say these are mentally abnormal people who were abused and humiliated in childhood. However, there are actually several myths about serial killers that we will consider.
All serial killers lead a life of recluse. If you think that these people lead a lifestyle cut off from the whole society, then it's time to change your point of view. The main reason that the murderers are not found so quickly is precisely that they hide well, live like exemplary citizens, communicate nicely with neighbors, and attend parent meetings of children. For example, Dennis Rader from Kansas, killed 10 people, in history he is known as "VTK" (from the words "bind, torture, kill", meaning to bind, torture and kill). During the trial, Dennis calmly recounted the last moments of his victims' lives in detail, without worrying at all. In ordinary life, the killer raised two children, having a higher education, he worked as an official, and as a hobby led the choir in the church. Robert Picton killed almost fifty women in twenty years, owned a pig farm, supplying meat to the entire area. In his testimony, he admitted that he also added the meat of his victims to pork. Robert was also married, read the Bible at home, and attended church regularly.
Bad parenting and bad families are to blame. This statement is not suitable for all murderers of this type, not everyone was bullied in childhood, although such a myth about them is widespread. For example, serial killer Ted Bundy, who confessed to raping thirty women as an adopted child, grew up in a decent religious family and studied well at school. In a conversation with a psychologist, the maniac admitted that his family was exemplary, he himself loves his parents very much, who were an example for him. The whole family regularly attended church, alcohol and smoking were not encouraged, the children never witnessed quarrels between them. However, even such an ideal environment did not save society from a serial killer.
Once a serial killer has started his activity, he cannot stop. This myth was born thanks to Hollywood clichés, thanks to which it seems to us that the maniac continues to kill without stopping until inquisitive detectives catch him. In real life, this is not the case. Police psychologist Pet Brown, in his book about serial killers, says that something can change in the life of a maniac, this will stop him in bloody activities, before the police catch him. Such an event can be a change in marital status - the death of a relative, the beginning of family life, and so on. The already mentioned Dennis Rader committed his murders from 1974 to 1991, and was caught only in 2005. For 14 years before the capture, the criminal had not committed a single murder. The reason for this was the fact that Dennis discovered that he gets similar feelings when he is killing when engaging in masturbation, therefore, this occupation distracted the killer from his bloody occupation.
Only sex is the motive for the crime. Indeed, this is the motive for some of the criminals, but by no means the main one. In 2002, the case of a Washington sniper thundered, who killed ten random people in the US capital. According to one version, the serial killer planned to shoot his wife, the rest of the murders were supposed to be a cover for the crime, according to another version, the motive could be money - at one of the places the police found a note demanding $ 10 million to stop the series of murders. For murderers who were abused in childhood, a sense of their own power and control over their victims is an important factor in crime. Other motives can be hallucinations, for example, the schizophrenic Herbert Mullin, who killed 13 people in the United States, said that he was ordered so by certain "voices" in order to prevent an earthquake. Often murderers are inclined to missionary work - they believe that by their actions they cleanse humanity from the filth - Jews, prostitutes, gays. Usually, the killers are of several types, having more than one motive for their actions.
All serial killers are insane geniuses. It seems to many that, along with a disordered psyche, such criminals also have heightened intelligence, which helps them thoroughly and for a long time to hide from the law. Psychologist Pet Brown considers such a statement unfounded. As evidence, the FBI cases and materials from the trials of convicted serial killers are cited. Almost all of them had IQs on the lower threshold of the average level or slightly above average. And mental illness was found in the minimum number of convicts. Therefore, this myth is untenable.
Serial killers indiscriminately kill anyone. It is not true that serial killers kill literally those who come to hand. In fact, most of the criminals choose their victims carefully, usually the victims have something in common. Usually the killer chooses those. who seems to him to be the easiest victim, often these are people of excellent sexual orientation, sometimes the victims may resemble the killer of someone from his past.
Serial killers constantly travel long distances, which is why the police cannot catch them. According to this myth, killers literally cross continents, thus remaining elusive. It is often believed that criminals know the methods of police investigation, so they can successfully mask their tracks. However, Pet Brown claims that few of the maniacs travel long distances, choosing victims over large areas, usually the killer acts on "his" territory with very vague ideas about the methods of investigation. For example, a serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, from 1978 to 1991, committed at least fifteen murders of young guys with sexual motives. Police still believe that not all of the victims have been found. The killer found all his victims in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In gay bars, he looked out for young people acting as gigolo, which obviously no one would later look for. Later, the killer lured future victims into his apartment or a house inherited from their grandmother, where they were drunk or drugged, then killed. The maniac cut the bodies into pieces, and also ate some parts.
Women don't become serial killers. A typical portrait of a criminal is a white man, but women are also found in this series, and interest in their stories is naturally increased. However, finding the culprit is more difficult. The FBI believes that 15% of violent crimes in the United States are committed precisely by the fairer sex, of the total number of serial killers in the United States, their 8%. It is believed that these killers are as dangerous as men, but not so noticeable, which allows them to wield for a long time. Even a typology of such criminals has been developed. So, "black widows" kill their husbands, lovers and people with whom she had a trusting relationship. Usually a crime occurs with the help of poison; in 10-15 years, usually 6-8 people die at the hands of such a woman. The second category is "angels of death". Usually these women work in hospitals or nursing homes, trying on the role of God, choosing which of the sick to die prematurely. On average, 8 murders take place in 1-2 years. The next category is "sexual predators". These are ladies over 30 who travel a lot and have a passion for carnal pleasures, their favorite weapon is a pistol, on average, their criminal history lasts 3 years, during which they manage to kill 6 people. Much less common are avengers who choose family members or someone who has symbolic meaning for them as victims. Murders for money remained in the 18-19 centuries. Often the causes of women's crimes are never identified. It's worth mentioning that a third of serial murders are committed by women in groups - classic examples are Bonnie and Clyde, who killed 16 people in the 1930s.
Serial killers in real life are not capable of anything. Remarkable is the story of Jack Unterweger, who was serving a 14-year sentence for the murder of a prostitute, wrote in prison the book Purgatory, or Journey to a Detention House, which became a bestseller in Austria and Germany, and later another book, Prison, was published. Two more of his plays were staged in Vienna. After his release in 1990, Unterweger became a TV talk show host, but soon continued a series of murders that were not immediately solved. Interestingly, while at large, the criminal even participated in police raids as a journalist. Another serial killer, whose name remained unknown, got into the habit of watching birds while behind bars. Soon, under conditions of imprisonment, he became a major specialist in ornithology, his colleagues even petitioned for his release!