Very recently I wrote a narrative of a fictional book I’d read about a serial killer.
So I thought I’d do a bit of research on the current data and statistics.
Who Are The Victims?
I would wager a bet that you think women are killed more often by serial killers. That seems to be what we see on TV anyway. But it’s really about half and half.
Data suggests that gender-wise, victims are split down the middle, with a slight lean toward women.
Racially, two-thirds of serial killer victims are white.
But percentage-wise, African Americans are over-represented. They account for 13.3 percent of the US population, but make up almost a quarter of all victims.
Serial killers prefer younger victims. The odds of being murdered by a serial killer dramatically decreases after a person reaches 30.
From an article in Psychology Today dated January 2016, the demographic of victims varied widely – homeless men, adults on a bike path, prostitutes, children, hospital patients, and kidnapped women.
The motives were just as varied as the relationships between the perpetrators and victims.
“Serial killer nurses kill patients who annoyed them or because they want to play the hero by resuscitating a critically ill patient.
A serial killer kills to avenge his father’s death. A killer murders homeless men or prostitutes because he perceives a need to “clean up” the “dregs of society.”
“Consistent with history, about half of the serial killers appeared to be sexual predators. Clearly, there is no single thing that motivates serial killers and they are not driven solely by sex. In fact, the majority of serial killers do what they do for enjoyment.”
Who Are These Killers?
In 2016, killers ranged in age from 15 to 72.
The majority of serial murders were carried out by a single male, but there were females perpetrators as well as a team of two male sex offenders.
Most offenders were “straight” but not all. Stephen Port will serve a life sentence for drugging and murdering four men he met on gay dating websites.
Donna Perry, a transgender woman charged with killing three Spokane women in the 1990s has claimed that these murders may have been carried out by Douglas Perry. This is the man she was before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2000 in an attempt to stop his violence against women. (Did you catch all that?)
Upon further checking, I learned that the trial is ongoing this week.
The prosecutors in the case allege that Perry had a burning revulsion for prostitutes with children.
“We believe the theory of the case is hatred of women who made bad choices,” said Sharon Hedlund, deputy Spokane Country prosecutor.
“Because they were mothers is part of the reason they were being targeted.”
From Psychology Today January 2016:
Serial killers – people who kill two or more people on two or more separate occasions – are increasingly hard to predict. They don’t look like they used to. They don’t act like they used to. They don’t always kill who we thought they would or for reasons that we assumed we knew.
But law enforcement is getting smarter. Serial killers have declined by 85% over the past three decades. They are less prolific. They’re being caught after one murder instead of three or four.
Just 40 years ago, nearly one-third of all serial killers in the U.S. got away with five or more murders before getting caught. Today, that figure is down to 13 percent — and nearly half get caught after two killings.
Are There Serial Killer Hot Spots?
In April 2016, during a one-day seminar on criminal profiling, renowned forensic scientist Dr. Henry C. Lee told his audience: “In the early days of my career, your standard serial killer was always a male loner…always from the U.S. But these days, everything has changed.”
For the year 2016, there were serial killers from the United States, Thailand, Kenya, Canada, Italy, Germany, Columbia, Costa Rica, Russia, Turkey, the U.K., India and China.
What is the fascination the world has for these killers?
They are inexplicable. We can’t imagine what is in their minds. What their motives are. What drives them.
It is natural to be curious about what you don’t understand.
If you have questions about this segment of the population, put them in the comments and I’ll see what I can find out.
You might also like to read…
The Year I Was Pen Pals With A Serial Killer