- Subject index
A comprehensive exploration, Studying and Prevention of Homicide offers thoroughly researched chapters by a distinguished group of contributors. Leading scholars in the field, editors M. Dwayne Smith and Margaret A. Zahn have compiled an extensive range of topics including: mass and serial murders, homicides by youth, gang homicides, domestic homicides, homicides by female offenders, and alcohol/drug related homicides.
Chapter 5: Serial Murder: Myths and Realities
Serial Murder: Myths and Realities
Since the early 1980s, Americans have become more aware of and concerned about a particularly dangerous class of murderer, known as the serial killer. Characterized by the tendency to kill repeatedly (at least three or four victims) and often with increasing brutality, serial killers stalk their victims, one at a time, for weeks, months, or years, generally not stopping until they are caught.
The term serial killer was first used in the early 1980s (see Jenkins, 1994), although the phenomenon of repeat killing existed, of course, throughout recorded history. In the late 1800s, for example, Hermann Webster Mudgett (aka H. H. Holmes) murdered dozens of attractive young women in his Chicago “house of death,” and the infamous ...