Date of Graduation

5-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Advisor/Mentor

Shields, Christopher

Committee Member/Reader

Drawve, Grant

Committee Member/Second Reader

Calabretta-Sajder, Ryan

Abstract

Law enforcement agencies operate with the belief that serial murder occurs in geographical areas where groups engaging in high-risk lifestyles are prevalent. While such a conclusion does seem logical, it has never been challenged using empirical data. My thesis challenges this assumption through factual analysis. A literature review revealed what other researchers in the field estimate are the reasons behind a serial killer’s choice to operate in a given area. Research will be conducted by implementing data from the Radford/Florida Gulf Coast University Serial Killer Database and the United States Census Bureau to examine the geographical patterns of serial murder in North America. Throughout the study, major themes will be identified as the factors that contribute to geographical serial homicide trends. Key groups in the victimology are defined and how they contribute to serial murder patterns is explored. This study focuses on providing factual evidence to support the notion that it is possible to identify what geographical factors are correlated and even predictive of the locale of why serial offenders choose to operate within a preferred geographic area. Future research should focus more precisely on how considerable the impact of a victim’s characteristics is on their measure of vulnerability as well as broadening the scope to analyze census data.

Keywords

Serial Murder, Geographical Trends

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