The Human Geography Of Serial Killers

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This research paper is an analysis of the internal and external human geography of serial killers. A serial killer is someone who is referred to as a person who commits murder several times with no real motive. Serial killers are rare but when they do strike the public and the criminal justice system are both affected. Serial murder can produce fear, heavy pressures for investigating agencies and demands significant resources. Most murderers are found because of a connection to the victim, that is not always the case; Psychological and geographic profiling can also help locate a murderer. If we want to better our chances of finding them, we have to learn how to understand human geography, mental maps and backgrounds.

Human geography is, “the study of characteristics and relationships among people and their landscapes”. It is also commonly understood as how earth’s surface has shaped human experience. Human geography relates to the internal and external aspects of humans, and one thing that human geography is used for, is learning about the internal and external makeup of serial killers. According to the google dictionary, a serial killer is,” a person who commits a series of murders, often with no apparent motive and typically following a characteristic, predictable behavior pattern”. Human geography helps humans to understand one another and the psychological developments to cause serial murder.

Serial murder is a scary phenomenon, the human brain can only understand somewhat. Serial killer is a label that means different things to different people, it is important to define what is meant by this classification. Robert olson, Canada’s most infamous serial killer puts it as: “We can't look into other serial killers minds as to what they do unless they allow to give where their thoughts and views, you don't find many that have done this any place.” the thoughts of interviewed serial killers show just as many differences as they do in their commonalities. On the other hand, murder itself is easier to understand. We can look at motives- anger, betrayal, frustration and money are all within the imagination of people. Although, with that being said, these motives should only stand for one murder, you have to look closer into the mind of a serial killer to understand their human geography and what has caused them to form into the hunter they are. To do that, you have to look at the actual geography of a serial killer.

The geography of a serial killer

To understand a serial killer, you have to look into their background and know what kind of person they are, who they were in high school, what kind of parents they had, and even where someone grew up. This adds insight into what made someone into a murderer. To find that out, you can most likely look into someone’s mental map, easier said than done. A mental map is a representation of the spatial form of the phenomenal environment which an individual carries in his or her mind. It acknowledges features of relationships and also reflects the individual's preferences and attitudes towards places. A mental map is something you can not physically look at, and so we as humans can’t understand what it is fully or what makes a mental map different in everyone, so we go to the next best option; Geographic profiling. Geographic profiling is a method that is done to assess someone’s personality and and use clues to tell what kind of person they are. Geographic profiling is a strategic management strategy designed to support serial violent crime investigations. It focuses on the probable spatial behavior of the offender within the context of the locations of various crime sites. The subjective component of geographic profiling is based primarily on a reconstruction and interpretation of the offender’s mental map, and it is here that a psychological profile can be most of help. Most serial killers have some type of personality disorder, and there are many other facts that can fall into geographic profiling to help figure out who is a murderer like the fact that serial killers are more likely to have a history of sexual abuse in their backgrounds, tended to be less organized, and had shorter attention spans(Robbins, 1991, pp. 105-112). They also have been found to be manic and move around a lot in location, and they often change their weapons or methods of killing.

Locations

The location of where victims bodies are located are usually determined before the victim is murdered. Location is an important factor relating to serial killers. According to huffpost, the largest amount of serial killers in the united states come from Oklahoma. It is only the 28th largest state in america and consists of only 39 total cities in the state; most of them do not have over 1 million people. Serial killers most likely attack in lower profile states because they are easier to go undetected.

From reading an article called,” 10 places murderers dump dead bodies in the US”, it has become clear that parks- national and public, are popular places to store dead bodies, and that's probably because of the fact that most parks consist of a large amount of land. Geographical patterns in crime have been studied since the mid-nineteenth century. Violent and property offences are examined with spatial relationships to poverty. The geographical focus of criminology has now shifted from regional areas to city neighbourhoods. There is a tradition of using spatial patterns to study serial killers, but many have often found that data from individual human beings and their day to day interactions are the best way to understand the minds of murderers.

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There are many preconceived thoughts about what a serial killer or a victim should look like. For instance, most people probably assume that american serial killers are a white male, in their 30’s, all are insane or evil geniuses or that they are all dysfunctional loners. Contrary to popular belief most of these are not true, or at least as true as one would think. Misconceptions are a big barrier that can block people from seeing the real truth; not all serial killers are the same and most of them are actually female. A misconception like that can change everything when it comes to trying to find a murderer. Victims are different because they are easier to identify; with that being said, there are still misconceptions about them too. For instance, there are thoughts that most homicide victims are young women in their 20’s. The cause for misconceptions can all go back to your mental map.

Methodology and results

Before technology became a turning point in the twenty-first century, many serial killer researchers would reference newspaper files as sources for data, which is the first database used for information on finding serial killers. Many serial killers were identified through this method and from a variety of sources including, Journals, interviews and computer abstract searches. However, newspaper stories are problematic sources of data because they are dependent on editorial decisions and they may glorify information to increase circulation. Newspaper accounts have been found to be inaccurate in their description of details.

Anytime media is used for a source of information, it becomes important to consider the biases in the reporting of the stories of interest. Problems with media suggest a bias in the current research. The crimes of repetitive killers who hunt over large regions may be unidentified as serial killers because the information can contradict the media.

The second database is known as Micro Level data. It was regarded as a reasonable approximation of the serial killer “population.” while an accurate number of all serial killers does not exist, and most likely never will, the best efforts to date suggest that the size of the modified FBI list is on the right order of magnitude.

“We were just hunting humans. I guess because we thought they were the hardest thing to hunt, but humans are the easiest thing to hunt.”(convicted canadian murderer).

The study of human Geography has shaped the way we view the world and more specifically, the way serial killers view the world. The attempt to expand our knowledge in this area of rare but extreme violence is a challenge, even offenders themselves may not understand why they do what they do. Interaction between academic research and the police field allows an investigative methodology to grow. The importance of human geography-external and internal, for criminal investigation can be summed up into one quote by one of america’s most famous murderer, ted bundy,” murder is not about lust and it’s not about violence. It’s about possession.”

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The Human Geography Of Serial Killers. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-human-geography-of-serial-killers/
“The Human Geography Of Serial Killers.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-human-geography-of-serial-killers/
The Human Geography Of Serial Killers. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-human-geography-of-serial-killers/> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
The Human Geography Of Serial Killers [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-human-geography-of-serial-killers/
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