Deviance and Violence
Serial murder can be defined as a series of murders, more than three, done for a period, which is not less than thirty days. The murders are usually in a similar pattern but at separate events. In the investigation of a serial murder case, certain tools and approaches are used. First, a series of murder cases are indentified to determine whether there is a serial murder case or not. This is done by looking at different unsolved murders and checking whether they have any similarities, that is, if they have a specific pattern in the different periods of time in which they occurred.
After identifying a serial murder case, competent personnel mainly from the homicide department are assigned the case. They are made aware that their main goal is to arrest and persecute the offender despite the pressure they may face from the media or the public. They decide on all the resources to be used and maintain a record of all the resources in the case. The personnel also organize a task force in which they work together as a team. They need a crime analyst whose main role is to look at the available information, which is generally bulky, and determine which information is of more importance. He is also the one to investigate on the motives of the serial killer in the case by using the information provided.
When all this has been done, criminal profiling of the serial killer is done by visiting the various crime scenes where all these murders have occurred. Criminal profiling is defined as the act of developing a simple psychological profile of an offender based on the crime scene (Davis, 2007). This usually helps the crime analyst in identifying the motive of the serial killer and this usually depends on the judgment of the information he has on the crime scene. Criminal profiling also helps the task force working on the case, on the kind of victims the serial killer is targeting. When profiling, the task force is able to come up with certain information about characteristics that the serial killer likes, if he is short or tall, a male or a female or if he is fat or thin.
After the crime analyst is through with profiling, the task force can decide on whether to use the media as a tool or not. If they decide on using it, they provide the media with necessary information that can help in the identification of the serial killer and alert the public on the harm the serial killer is capable of doing. The media might also not be a good tool because they sometimes give the task force undue pressure that is unnecessary. The media can also give distorted information that might bring chaos to the public or provide information that can help the serial killer. Incase the task force decides to use the media, they must be careful on the information they provide the media with.
The task force must also use the forensics as one of their tools. Forensic is the manner in which evidence is obtained in order to be used in a court of law. It is a science, which is usually done after a crime in order to obtain physical evidence. This involves the collection of fingerprints or saliva, which are tested for DNA and even the collection of any bones if any. The investigator collects, identifies and preserves the evidence, which is later presented in a court of law (Thurman, 2006). Forensic can be affected by the public when it is tampered with. Therefore, the task force must know where to put the barrier in a crime scene. If it is large, it can contain a lot of unwanted information and if it is small, it can live a lot of evidence and it might be too late since by the time they realize it, the evidence would already have been tampered with by the public.
After performing the above different task, the task force will have already identified many different suspects. They are expected to use the tool of interrogation in questioning the different suspects. Interrogation is like an interview that is used to obtain information about something from someone mostly an offender. It is commonly used by the law enforcers (Dahlberg & Siapera, 2007). During this interrogation, the law enforcers eliminate the ones that are not likely and the ones that are most likely. All the suspects are expected to give information on there whereabouts when all the murders occurred and give alibis who can verify that whatever they have said are true.
The use of old solved cases as a tool also helps the law enforcers in arresting offenders. Many of these serial murder cases are usually the same and some are copycats. Copycats are those murders where the serial killer copies the style of another serial killer. This helps the crime analysts when it comes to criminal profiling or in finding the motives of the killer. The old cases also help to educate the young inexperienced law enforcers on what to look for or what to follow in a serial murder investigation. In addition, they help in giving an overview of the resources that might be required and the techniques that might be employed to solve the case. This makes it easier for the law enforcers when it comes to planning.
In conclusion, it can be said that all these tools are affected by the media or the public either positively or negatively. The media affects the investigation negatively when it gives the wrong information to the public. The information might incite or create fear to the public. However, the media affects the investigation positively when it broadcasts information that will help both the law enforcers and the public to arrest the serial killer. On the other hand, the public affects the investigations negatively when they tamper with the information, distort the information or withhold the information. Conversely, they affect positively when they give correct information and they do not give undue pressure to the law enforcers.
Dahlberg, L., & Siapera, E. (2007). Radical democracy and the Internet: Interrogating theory and practice. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Davis, B. J. (2007). Criminal profiling. Milwaukee, WI: World Almanac Library.
Thurman, J. T. (2006). Practical bomb scene investigation. Boca Raton: CRC/Taylor & Francis.
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