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Serial Killers: America's New Epidemic Essay

2171 words - 9 pages

Serial Killers: America's New Epidemic.

Serial killers have been around since the dawn of history, their numbers multiplying exponentially within the past five decades. In recent years, words such as "baffling" and "mysterious" have become routine to describe the growing phenomenon. It is imperative to develop a workable solution and general understanding of these predators in human form as a new wave of serial murders reach crisis rates in this millennium.
More than fifteen-hundred serial killers are on record at this time. Though serial murder is not "new", the numbers have gone up in recent years. From 1900 to 1959 the U.S. reported about two serial murder cases a year. By 1969, six ...view middle of the document...

In 1956, forensic psychiatrist, James Brussels, prepared an amazing profile of the "Mad Bomber". While no single case has ever been broken with a psychological profile, the FBI still utilizes it as an investigational tool. The recent developments in DNA testing have made it easier for investigators to track and catch killers. DNA helps to connect cases sooner and can conclusively rule out "copy cat" killers or innocent victims. Data bases that are capable of recognizing patterns in criminal behavior are currently being developed. One such data base is the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program. "Violent Criminal Apprehension Program or the VICAP is the brain child of ex-policeman Pierce Brooks" (VICAP). He wanted to be able to track killers on the move and developed the nation wide network to collect and compare details of unsolved crimes. While DNA and VICAP are important tools, psychological profiling has missed too many targets to be relied on. America should consider spending its limited resources on more effective apprehension techniques, such as larger national data bases of violent crimes and better communication between law enforcement departments. Serial killers, whose multiple murders frequently incorporate brutal torture and sexual assault, are often described as "poster children" for capital punishment. "Texas was the first state to specifically list serial murder as a capital offense" (Fox and Levin 63). "People fight against capital punishment for reasons ranging from moral ("all killing is wrong") to economic ("life imprisonment is cheaper than lengthy death-sentence appeals"), but results of every published poll to date suggest that a majority of those surveyed support execution in cases of first-degree murder" (Newton 29). Between 1977 and 2000, fifty-one serial killers have been executed. One hundred and twenty-five are currently on death-row. Serial killers are not salvageable as productive humans. They prey on our most vulnerable people and feel little or no regret or empathy for their actions. The death penalty is fair; an eye for an eye.
The only trait that serial killer victims share is their untimely moment in the spotlight of a killer's twisted fantasy. "The victims of serial killers include male and female, young and old, all races, rich and poor, educated and illiterate. They range from debutants to runaways" (Newton 231). About sixty-five percent of the victims are female. Caucasians make up eighty-nine percent of the killer's prey. The effects of serial killers on society are staggering. In addition to the physical danger, reports of a serial killer produce emotional and psychological stress. The cost of protecting citizens from serial killers is astronomical. It costs thousands of policeman-hours to catch one killer. The trial and extended appeals are also expensive. "To keep a killer in jail requires thousands of dollars per year" (Crime And Criminals 113).
America must find a way to manage the threats a serial...

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