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Working Definition of Serial Murder and the Reduction of Linkage Blindness

NCJ Number
Journal of Police Science and Administration Volume: 12 Issue: 3 Dated: ( September 1984) Pages: 348-357
S A Egger
Date Published
10 pages
The extent of serial murders in our society today is an indirect effect of the almost total lack of sharing or coordination of investigative information on unsolved murders as well as to inadequate networking among law enforcement agencies.
A serial murderer has committed two or more murders separated in time and often in widely different geographic areas, and involving victims who are usually strangers. The murders are usually compulsive acts for gratification based on fantasies. Although the exact number of serial murders is unknown, they are included within the 4,200 murders, or 20 percent of the total reported annually, for which motives are unknown. It is impossible to deter serial murders. Control is currently the only viable strategy for law enforcement. Information from different jurisdictions is needed to identify similar patterns or modus operandi. An investigative network which would provide this information is being developed and will be located at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. Once operational, the Violent Criminal Apprehension program will be a centralized information center and crime analysis system. Its success will not be known for some time, but will depend on local law enforcement cooperation and transmittal of information. Forty references are listed.