July 2011 Archives
Spree killing is different from serial killing - it occurs when multiple people are unlawfully killed by one or more killers, within a single onslaught or attack.
Serial killing can occur over months or years, and involves repeated murders with "cooling off" periods in between.
Spree killers are usually white, mostly acting alone, and almost always male (although some females have spree-killed).
Why is this distinction important?
If psychology can help reduce spree killings, then such distinction is vital to its understanding.
Criminal Profiling - deducing and predicting offender characteristics based on crime scenes, victims, and other evidence - is something that many people readily accept as a scientific discipline.
Seduced by a glut of high profile TV dramas that focus on crime-solving-made-possible by impossibly fast forensic techniques, unbelievablly vast and easily accessible on-line databases of personal details, and behavioural scientists dealing in the unlikely certainties of how people think and act, the "CSI generation" have been duped.
No surprise then that year after year, university degree courses that offer elements of criminology or forensic psychology prove to be very popular choices for students.
Many people are often disappointed when I tell them there is little credible evidence behind this "new" behavioural science.