Type: Analysis
Pages: 10 | Words: 2717
Reading Time: 12 Minutes

This paper seeks to study the factors which lead to the development of serial killers. Serial killers are not born serial killers but are made through experiences, situations and circumstances that happen during their lives. Thus this paper seeks to narrate, analyze, contrast and explain these situations, circumstances and situations that contribute to the development of serial killers.

Who is a Serial Killer?

A serial killer is a person who commits three or more murders in a period of less that 30 days. A serial murder is not the same as spree murders or other forms of multi murders. This has often posed the question on how to differentiate serial murders from other murders. Well, the difference is derived from the time factor. Other multi murders occur occasionally and are most probably not committed by the same murderer. On the other hand, serial murders happen regularly and most times these murders have a specific pattern.

For example, in a period of 30 days 10 murders are committed every few hours and in the same style or way. Such murders are referred to as serial murders. A serial murder usually needs professional investigators to investigate. The best way to investigate such murders is by analyzing and focusing on the time frame of the murders and the intervals at which these murders are committed. Solving such murders also needs help of a psychologist. This is because a psychologist will help to read the mind of the serial killer from the patterns of the murder. The big question is “˜What makes people go around killing so many people?’ (Reisner, 2003)

Factors that Contribute to the Development of a Serial Killer

Many factors lead to the development of a serial killer. Some of the factors include: Anti social disorders. Anti social disorders are defined simply as conceptual sense of entitlement .It can also be described as a lack or absence of remorse. Serial killers are usually manipulative, they often tend to blame other, cunning among many other serial killers often disregard social obligations. This simply means that serial killers are not sensitive to the obligations of social life. They blame every one for their own mistakes and do not make any effort to fit into the society.

According to many studies carried out, serial killers are usually quiet people who do not seem to fit into the society. They spend most of their time alone and their lives are usually a mystery. Analysts have found that such behavior develops slowly and creates a serial killer. Rebecca Labrode, a reporter, states that antisocial behavior is because of environmental, upbringing, social and nurturing of the specific persons from their childhood. On the other hand, Rebecca suggests the psychopathic behavior is because of biological and genetic influence. This causes the psychopaths to be compelled to kill. However, other analysts have begged to differ with this theory, they suggest that psychopaths can not be genetically influenced. This is because of the many studies carried out. The research has found that only a little percentage of the lineage of psychopaths end up as psychopaths. It is important to note that serial killers do not only have a psychological problem but they also have acute social problem (Christoper, 2003).

The combination of the psychological problems and the acute social problems develops different negative implications against the many disciplines in the society. These disciplines may include: law enforcement agencies, forensic science and criminology. According to Holmes & Holmes, social awareness in social phenomenon has appeared a few times. They went ahead and cited some other instances that these social phenomena have appeared in the social circles. Examples of these are: cases that involved Gilles De Rais. Gilles was accused of raping and torturing over 800 children in the 15th century. The most disturbing aspect of most serial killing cases is that the serial killers are never caught. Gilles was also never caught, he walked the streets free after he had allegedly tortured and raped so many children. The big question is why are these serial killers not caught? What is the missing link? Have the authorities been looking at the wrong aspects? Law enforcers and investigators often follow quantitative results to solve serial killings. The other factor that contributes to the development of serial killers is displaced aggression. Displaced aggression is aggression that is displaced.

This simply means that the serial killer misplaces their aggression against an innocent party and ends up hurting innocent parties who did not contribute to that particular aggression. These kinds of aggression grow over a period. It is attributed to psychological problems and is explained by many analysts as a misplaced anger, aggression or bitterness towards a wrong done to the serial killers to innocent parties. In such a case, the serial killer kills to punish the innocent people for the wrongs that were done or that happened to them. Joel Norris, a psychologist, came up with psychological phases of a serial killer. These phases are an approach or an attempt to try and understand the minds of serial killers. It is important to note that most serial killers leave behind a signature.

This signature helps to distinguish them from other serial killers. Professor John Douglas defines this as the personal detail that is unique to the particular serial killer. A lot can be read from these signatures. For example, a killer’s signature will help to explain why the serial killer did what he did. This is because the signatures according to most psychologists are what helps to fulfill the serial killers emotionally. However, this signature may change as the serial killer learns other technical methods of fulfilling his emotions. In other serial cases, the serial killer’s signature shows sexual satisfaction. In other cases, the signature shows cannibalism by cutting their victims into pieces.

Characteristics of a Serial Killer

As mentioned before, serial murders are murders which are committed two or three times in a short period of time. The most common characteristic in these cases is that the victims and the murderers are usually not related in any way. In this regard, about six characteristics help to identify a serial killing. These characteristics are: That there are a minimum of two to three murders in a short period of time; The killer and the victim have no relationship in whatsoever way; The murders have shown no particular pattern and thus it means that the murders are not connected and occur at different times; The murders do not occur at the same locations but at different locations; The victims in the serial killings may have similar characteristics to the previous victims or the later victims and the murders are usually not committed for any material gain but for the purposes of satisfying or gratifying the desires of the serial killers.

It is also important to note that the gratification of serial killers is based on their fantasies which to them seem like a reality. It is very difficult to understand the mind of a serial killer. This is because most of the times the behaviors of serial killers are due to psychological problems. Some analysts have asserted that the society has helped to push these killers to the edge. How is this possible? Well, these analysts attribute the serial killers’ behavior to the fact that these are men and women in the society that live next door and shop at the same mall. The society has ignored their plight because some of the serial killers crave for attention which they do not get from their friends or neighbors.

This eventually develops a deep hatred from the serial killers and they try to take revenge on the same society that ignored them. The above characteristics are however debatable. This is because many studies carried out from serial killing cases have shown that female serial killers can sometimes kill for material gain as compared to male serial killers who kill for the gratification of their desires. Most researchers had defined serial killers as having three to four serial murders. However, this varies from serial killers to serial killers. Some have been known to commit hundreds of murders. The age of the serial killers raged from 27 to 35 years of age in average. He also suggested that his studies had shown that there were more male serial killers as compared to women serial killers. It simply means that females have a way of dealing with their emotional problems as opposed to men. However, this statement has attracted many different criticisms from many analysts on the same, who suggest that the reason there are more male serial killers as opposed to female serial killers is to be because of the environmental and nurturing aspects of the male children.

This has raised questions such as: How should male children be natured in an attempt to prevent the development of serial killing behavior? Moreover, what kind of attention should be given to the male child in an attempt to prevent them from the developing the serial killing behavior in the future? The research has also found that 75% of the serial killers are white as opposed to 25% who are black. 95% of the serial killers were men as opposed to 5% which were women. However, the victims of the serial killers were mostly women and a small percentage of children. There are many different aspects of serial killings. The research has found out that the serial killings can be organized or disorganized. It is believed that in the organized crimes the serial killers take time to plan the murders. They identify their victims and follow them for some time (Michel, 2005).

Then they engage the victims in a conversation and strike. The crime scene in such cases is usually very organized and it is very difficult to get much from these crime scenes. In the organized serial killings, the weapon which is used to commit the murder is not found in the crime scene. The bodies of the victims are also not found in the crime scene. This means that some serial killers are not crazy, as most people tend to think. Alternatively, these serial killers are very intelligent and have very intelligent minds that can think, plan and control the situations that they are faced with. On the other hand, a disorganized serial killer has an average intelligence. The disorganized serial killer does not take too much time in the planning and identifying the victim (Krane, 2007). Research has also found that female serial killers are more likely to kill relatives, husbands, ex-boyfriends and other relations. However, males are more likely to kill people who are unrelated to them. Male serial killers tend to kill or attack strangers. This has been attributed to the fact that most female serial killers try to punish the specific people who have hurt and caused them harm while the male serial killers tend to kill innocent people.

The Psychological Phase of Serial Killers

JoelNorris worked with many defense teams for a long time. He was involved in the interrogations of many different serial killers. From these interrogations he came up with a psychological phase for killers. This psychological phase starts with a cura phase. A cura phase is simply the withdrawal of the serial killer from reality and the heightening of the serial killer’s senses. This kind of phase begins as a fantasy then later becomes a reality and the serial killer has to accomplish it in order to gratify his fantasies. In this phase the serial killer tries to medicate himself or uses drugs to be able to carry out his fantasies. The second phase is the trolling phase which consists of very different behaviors from the first phase. This is simply a behavior when the serial killer uses to identify and stalk the victims.

The third phase is the wooing phase. In this phase the serial killer gains the confidence of the stalker by wooing the victims. This is the phase where the serial killers entice the victims and murder them. The next phase is called or owned as the totem phase. This is the phase where the serial killer falls into deep depression after the killing. This is the main reason why serial killers like to keep photographs and other reminders of the killings. This is because such reminders help to excite them and bring them out of the depression. This simply means that the satisfaction that the serial killers get from carrying out the murders is only temporary this is because after the murder the serial killers still feel the need to continue in order to gratify the fantasies.

Reviews from the Factors that Contribute to the Development of Serial Killers

The many contributing factors that contribute to the development of serial killers apart from scientific views involved factors such as obsession with harming people. Some of the serial killers have an obsession of harming other people. This behavior develops from many underlying reasons. The other factor is due to depression. Depression has been known to develop such behaviors. Substance abuse is also a contributing factor that leads to the development of serial killers. This is because the abuse of substances such as drugs and alcohol may cause the development of serial killing behavior. Other serial killers are involved with fantancies of violence. These fantasies end up becoming a reality to the serial killers and they start planning for it. In this way they eventually make it a reality by killing people.

The other contributing factor is that some of the serial killers fantasize and imagine how they will kill someone. In such a case, the killer eventually makes the imagination a reality by killing an innocent victim. Other serial killers are driven by the desire to control someone. This is especially evident in male serial killers. Most of the male serial killers are driven by the urge to control women. The findings from the many research studies that have been carried out have shown that a large majority of the male serial killers are psychopathic sexual sadists. On the other hand, female serial killers have other diverse reasons for committing their murders or killings. It is important to note that the development of these serial killings is because of mistreatment during childhood, especially for male serial killers. The analyses of the research carried out on most of these studies have found that serial killers mostly come from the urban areas where there are high divorce rates and high unemployment levels. The findings suggest that underlying reasons or factors that contributed to the development of serial killers are maltreatment especially at young and tender ages, sexual abuse by people they have loved and respected such as a father or a fatherly figure, psychological abuse at a tender or young age, neglect by parents or guardians and abuse by the parents or guardians. These reasons contribute largely to the development of serial killers (Guillen, 2002).

It is important to note that in all the categories it has been found that serial killing traits are not born traits but are developed traits. This simply means that serial killers are not born as serial killers but develop the serial killing traits due to many reasons that have been mentioned in this paper. Many researches have been carried out for trying to find out why serial killers are developed or what causes people to become serial killers? Many analysts have attributed this behavior to the treatment of these serial killers at early or tender ages. If this is true, then parents should learn from the findings and help to control the development of serial killers. It is a known fact that once a person develops such traits, it is almost impossible to change them or treat the disorders. In this regard, prevention is the best measure that should be taken to end and control serial killings. It is also important to note that most of the serial killings are not completed and most of the serial killers are not caught. This is very unfair to the victims and the victim’s families.


This paper has outlined many factors that contribute to the development of serial killers. It has tried to explain the reasons which are held by science. These influences include environmental, psychological and other underlying factors. This paper also cites the difference amongst serial killers and other aspects in relation to the same.

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