Serial and mass murders present significant challenges to law enforcement agents. These crimes are extremely difficult to solve because the murderers typically leave little evidence at the crime scenes, rarely have any prior connection to their victims, and do not have an obvious motive to kill. In addition, serial and mass murderers often stake out their victims for weeks to ensure there will be no witnesses. As a result, serial and mass murderers tend to evade detection longer than most other killers. Therefore, law enforcement agents encounter many challenges when trying to identify and apprehend serial and mass murderers. Criminal profilers, however, can help law enforcement agents address some of these challenges by providing physical, psychological, and even background profiles of serial murderers.
To prepare for this assignment:
- Read Serial Murder: Pathways for Investigation.
- Review FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin “Criminal Investigative Failures: Avoiding the Pitfalls (Part Two)”
- Read Kocsis, R. N. & Palermo, G. B. (2007). Contemporary problems in criminal profiling. In Criminal Profiling: International Theory, Research, and Practice (pp. 327-345). Totowa, NJ: Humana Press Inc. Retrieved from http://eknygos.lsmuni.lt/springer/605/327-345.pdf
Criminal Profiling: International Theory, Research, and Practice (pp. 327-345)
- Review Chapter 14 of your course text, Profiling Violent Crimes: An Investigative Tool. Focus on the challenges that law enforcement faced when investigating the Borden murders. Reflect on how criminal profilers might have addressed some of these challenges to help solve the case.
- Review the book excerpt, “So Many Victims.” Focus on why it is more difficult to solve serial murders compared to other types of murders. Consider how criminal profilers provide resources, such as psychological descriptions of serial and mass murderers, that aid law enforcement in investigations.
- Consider the challenges unique to the investigation of serial and mass murders compared to other homicides.
- Reflect on how criminal profiling might address the challenges you identified.
The assignment (1-2 pages):
- Describe at least two challenges unique to the criminal investigation of serial and mass murders compared to other homicides. Be specific.
- Explain how to use profiling to address the challenges you described. Be specific and use examples to support your explanation.