What Important Periods in Time Caused Serial Killings to Increase

Subject: Law
Pages: 5
Words: 1397
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: School

Introduction

Serial murders are the most significant and most horrible criminal offenses because they are violent and put psychological pressure on society. Murder is not a new crime, but it was not until the second half of the twentieth century that serial cases received close attention. During this period, there was a peak in serial killings associated with the impact of war on society. Some studies focus on the qualitative characteristics of the killers, thereby revealing risk factors. Cases of multiple violence are associated with social and psychological causes. In this regard, the purpose of the study is to examine the reasons that have led to an increase in serial killings and analyze future perspectives.

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Overview of Serial Murder

The concept of “serial murder” was introduced into the lexicon in the West in the late 1970s. A unified, generally accepted approach to defining serial crime and serial murder has not yet been developed. It has led to terminological and substantive discrepancies in the definition of crimes. The term serial is suitable for cases of murders of three or more people at different times, provided that the crimes are characterized by the similarity of motives and the same type of methods. What unites, unites, makes serial killers similar and how does one of their subtypes differ from another? The conducted research allows us to reveal several essentially essential similarities in their genesis, criminal and post-criminal behavior, despite the uniqueness of each individual.

All researchers are unanimous that the origins of serial killer behavior should be sought in childhood. More than half of them were brought up in single-parent families. Many were victims of sexual abuse as children. Almost all future killers were deprived of parental affection, care, and attention in childhood. The result of this “emotional deprivation” is isolation from society, a withdrawal into a “fantasy life.”

Golden Age of Serial Murders

Data collected by various researchers show that the rise in serial killings began in the late 1960s and peaked in the 1980s when at least 200 maniacs were operating in the United States alone. At this time, the U.S. was being terrorized by Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, and other killers, a combination of several factors led to a “golden age” of serial killings. This period coincided with a general increase in violent crime in the United States and Canada. At that time, major changes were in society: people moved from place to place more actively and were less likely to know those who lived in their neighborhood. Hitchhiking was increasingly common, making it easier for killers to find the most defenseless victims. Researchers believe serial killers were influenced by factors such as the media and public fascination with high-profile murder stories and the creation of the interstate highway system. It contributed to making it easier for killers to cover up evidence of the crime.

At the time, the police did not have advanced crime-solving technology at their disposal as they do now – no virtual database or DNA analysis, which only began to be used in the mid-1980s. The police did not have the resources to solve such crimes, and awareness of them had only begun to emerge – the phrase “serial killer” only began to be used in the early 1980s. Due to this criminals felt freer and knew that the chance of catching them was not high. Murderers had the perfect environment in which to commit crimes freely. Public attention bought the killers, and as we know, delusions of grandeur and a sense of being a god often accompanied them.

Social life was evolving rapidly in all directions: literature was changing, and movies were increasingly taking over the world. Unhealthy behavioral patterns often appeared in movies and magazines, becoming a way to distract from reality. In the mid-twentieth century, comic books depicting violence and pornography became popular. Children predisposed to violence willingly read comic books and subsequently committed crimes. Violence became part of people’s lives in the postwar era, and there are different perspectives on this.

Peter Vronsky is a historian specializing in serial killings who has offered several speculations on the causes of the Golden Age. He believes that the spike in serial killings owes its origins to the ravages of World War II and the children of soldiers returning from battlefields in Europe and the Pacific. Vronsky pointed out that many of the killers’ childhoods occurred during World War II and the postwar era (Vronsky 50). He also raised the question of the lack of research into the psychological effects of war on humans. It means that would-be murderers could not get qualified help. The author notes that there was little information about the families of murderers. Saved data indicates the deep trauma of fathers who returned from the war and projected cruelty on their children. The war left a mark on people’s minds, and as a result, not all of them were able to survive their traumas and cope with them. Vronsky believes that the era of postwar violence has ended in the 2000s.

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Some researchers convince that serial murders do not stop and that the post-war repercussions still haunt society (Yaksic et al., 13). They draw attention to the fact that the inability to solve crimes does not equal their absence. The war had a profound effect on people’s lives, but the increase in violence due to art in the arts needs more attention. The authors believe that the war was a catalyst, but the causes lie in a difficult childhood: violence, family breakups, sexual crimes. It is hard to judge which causes led to the Golden Age because it is a multifactorial phenomenon.

The decline in homicide rates by the 2000s can be attributed to an increase in methods of detecting and catching serial murders. One such technique is psychological profiling, which has enabled investigators to find patterns in the behavior of killers (Marono et al. 130). Technology has created unique strategies that have helped the police. In addition, it must be understood that information methods have allowed much more data to be obtained and correlated with people’s personalities. Such methods seem unethical, but the safety of citizens outweighs it. The overall decrease in serial killers results from a vigorous fight and the involvement of experts to comprehensively identify the crime.

Current Situation

The Golden Age of Crime affected the political and social conditions of life. Americans were concerned about their safety and trusted the authorities less. In addition, many families were silent about the actual situation and uncooperative. Social hardship was in increased divorce rates and domestic violence. The frequency of crime increased, and more and more people bought guns to protect themselves. The gender aspect of crime continued to rise in the direction of women, leading to an increase in female killers. By the beginning of the new century, the situation had stabilized, and serial crimes were no longer the focus of public attention.

At present, it is difficult to say what the future holds for serial murders: probably most crimes are stopped in their first stages. Some people believe that crimes are difficult to commit in the 21st century, and frequency is reduced (“Where Did All The Serial Killers Go?”). However, others believe that the romanticization of violence and unhealthy relationships, and the proliferation of pornography may lead to a new increase (Yalsic et al. 20). Advertising and media may also contribute to new spikes because they often show overly violent situations (Why This Generation Will Have More Serial Killers Than Ever). Future generations may likely have higher potential and propensity for violence because current children are still affected by violence. Of course, police work and attention to psychological comfort suppress the emergence of potential criminals, but society should reflect on the future.

Conclusions and assumptions

Serial murders are crimes characterized as murders of three or more people at different times. They are caused by various reasons and are quite difficult to pinpoint. The golden age resulted from highways’ development, relocations, the media craze, and the romanticization of violence in the arts. Some believe that the war shaped the killers’ psychological traumas and lust for violence. Now the situation is stable because of the unique methods of identifying and catching the perpetrator. However, the future of children growing up in an increased concentration of violence and pornography in advertising and media remains unclear.

Works Cited

Marono, Abbie Jean, et al. “A Behaviour Sequence Analysis of Serial Killers’ Lives: From Childhood Abuse to Methods of Murder.” Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, vol. 27, no. 1, 2020, pp. 126-137.

Vronsky, Peter. Sons of Cain: A History of Serial Killers from the Stone Age to the Present. Penguin, 2018.

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“Why This Generation Will Have More Serial Killers Than Ever.” YouTube, uploaded by The Infographics Show, 2018, Web.

“Where Did All The Serial Killers Go?” YouTube, uploaded by Human Interests, 2019, Web.

Yaksic, Enzo, et al. “Detecting a Decline in Serial Homicide: Have we Banished the Devil from the Details?” Cogent Social Sciences, vol. 5, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1-23.