We’ve all seen the buildup, on shows such as “Law & Order,” as law enforcement try to profile a serial killer and predict where he will strike next.
This method is used in the real world, and the first step is deciding which type of serial killer the cops are dealing with.
While no two serial killers are the same, everyone can be classified into one of two large groups: an organised, or a disorganized serial killer.
Former FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood helped create the FBI’s dichotomy approach to better understanding serial killers. Based on a large database of closed serial killer cases, law enforcement began inferring patterns from past cases to catch the current serial killers on the loose.
Scott Bonn, a professor at Drew University and a criminologist, who is in touch with Hazelwood, explained the difference between these two classifications, how law enforcement uses these characteristics to apprehend the killer, and why both types are equally as dangerous. As a criminologist, Bonn studies the patterns of behaviours.
An organised serial killer is cunning, charismatic even. He can lure you into his car, like Ted Bundy, or to meet him through Craigslist, like the Long Island serial killer, and then he strikes. He’s meticulous, has contingency plans, and cleans up after himself. He often transports the body from the crime scene, as well. They are often very emotionally unattached and can fake the human emotion necessary to get you to like them.
He’s extremely dangerous because he seems normal at first glance. You’ll never see him coming. He’s a “true psychopath,” according to Bonn. These serial killers are more likely to have a routine.
“They carry everything they need with them, all of their tools,” Bonn said. “They treat killing almost like a hobby.”
A disorganized serial killer is socially awkward. He won’t be able to get you to have a conversation with him. He jumps out from behind a bush and strikes out of nowhere. Think of a Jack the Ripper type. These killers don’t plan, so they often leave the body where they attacked and flee the scene.
He’s extremely dangerous because they live on the fringe of society and do not have a daily routine. You’ll never see him coming.
“They types are very predatory,” Bonn said. “They don’t hide the body, and don’t think about it. They can be very difficult to apprehend but for very different reasons [from] the organised serial killers.”
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