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The Organized/Disorganized Typology of Serial Murder: Myth or Model?

By David V. Canter, Laurence J. Alison, Emily Alison and Natalia Wentink

Abstract

Despite weaknesses in the organized/disorganized classification of serial killers, it is drawn on for "offender profiles," theories of offending, and in murder trials. This dichotomy was therefore tested by the multidimensional scaling of the co-occurrence of 39 aspects of serial killings derived 100 murders committed by 100 U.S. serial killers. Results revealed no distinct subsets of offense characteristics reflecting the dichotomy. They showed a subset of organized features typical of most serial killings. Disorganized features are much rarer and do not form a distinct type. These results have implications for testing typologies supporting expert opinion or to help understand variations in criminal acts, as well as the development of a science of investigative psychology that goes beyond offender profiling

Topics: BF, H1, HN
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:8639

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  1. Belongings scattered – victim’s belongings scattered at the crime scene doi
  2. Body parts missing – one or more body parts missing from the victim
  3. Burns on victim – burn marks found on the victim’s body
  4. Clothing scattered – clothing scattered at the crime scene doi
  5. clothing to murder scene- trail of clothing leading to/ from the crime scene
  6. Firearm used - evidence of firearm use at the scene
  7. Missing weapon- murder weapon not found at scene doi
  8. Object penetration – the offender inserted objects into the victim’s body opening
  9. Posed body-offender deliberately positioned body in a particular way
  10. Ransacking - the crime scene was in a state of disarray
  11. Tampered with evidence – the offender tampered with evidence that could lead to his identification in some way
  12. Tease cuts – superficial knife cuts found on the victim’s body
  13. Torture – offender subjected the victim to acts of torture doi
  14. (2001). Unobstrusive Measurement: Using police information for forensic research.
  15. (2000). Unobtrusive methods in social research. doi
  16. Victim alive during sex acts
  17. victim struck with a heavy blow(s)
  18. victim’s body concealed from immediate view at disposal site
  19. victim’s body showed signs of having been beaten by the offender
  20. Violence directed at genitalia – evidence of violent attack specifically aimed at the genitalia

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