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Prostitutes as Victims of Serial Homicide: Trends and Case Characteristics, 1970-2009

NCJ Number
Homicide Studies Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2011 Pages: 74-100
Kenna Quinet
Date Published
February 2011
27 pages
This study analyzed the proportionate amount of serial murder risk for prostitutes, and how this risk may have changed over time. The study uses primary data collection to identify the proportion of United States serial murder cases since 1970 involving known female prostitute victims and whether this proportion has changed over time.
This work includes a count of solved serial murder cases in the United States from 1970 to 2009. The number of serial murder cases has declined; the likelihood that a victim is a female has increased somewhat and although the numbers of all types of serial murder victims has declined, when a case occurs, victims are increasingly likely to be prostitutes, particularly female prostitutes. United States serial murder cases with prostitute victims accounted for 32 percent of all United States serial murder cases involving female victims only, 1970-2009. However, the proportion of solved cases involving female prostitute victims only increased across the study period from 16 percent during 1970-1979 to a high of 69 percent during 2000-2009. Prostitute killers amass a greater average number of victims than do nonprostitute killers and when analyzed by decade, those who kill primarily prostitutes, kill for slightly longer periods of time. The implications of findings for prevention and investigation efforts are discussed. (Published Abstract) Tables, notes, and references