Criminal profilers use criminal theories of serial and mass murderers, in addition to typologies, to construct a murderer’s profile. To use theories effectively, a criminal profiler must first accurately identify the theory that best applies to a specific crime. Identifying an incorrect theory actually can produce an incorrect profile and impede, rather than aid, the investigation. To identify the relevant theory in a case, a profiler examines the evidence to determine whether the victim was sexually assaulted. The profiler also tries to identify any theme that the murder has in common with other murders—for example, the race of the victims. The profiler collates information about other murders from existing statistics. After sifting through the information, the profiler makes an educated guess about the theory or theories that best explain the serial murderer. The same theories also can be applied to mass murderers. The information provided by these theories, for example, that mass and serial murderers are usually abused as children or that they have neurological impairments, eventually helps the profiler create the profile of the serial murderer.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review Chapter 4 of your course text, Profiling Violent Crimes: An Investigative Tool. Focus on the central themes relevant to each theory, including psychological, constitutional/biological, and social/ecological theories. Also, pay attention to the statistics that are used to support each theoretical perspective. Consider how these theories can be applied to different serial and mass murderers.
- Review the book excerpt, “The Making of a Serial Killer.” Pay attention to the various factors that are hypothesized to be causes for the creation of serial and mass murderers.
- Reflect on the typologies you used in Week 2 to describe the murderer in the case study.
- Think about the themes related to the crimes and crime scenes in the case study.
- Select one criminal theory—psychological, constitutional/biological, or social/ecological—you think best accounts for the behaviors of the murderer in the case study.
With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 4
Post a brief explanation of the typologies you used to describe the murderer from the case study in Week 2. Then based on these typologies, the themes related to the crimes and crime scenes, and prior statistics, describe one criminal theory you think best accounts for the murderer’s behaviors and explain why.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.
Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.