Serial killers have long held the public to intrigue and morbid fascination. One person can apparently kill as many people as he/she wants and will get away with it. The movies have painted a picture that serial killers are smarter than average. They aren't. Gary Ridgway's IQ was 85 and he killed at least 71 people. Some are geniuses but the average IQ ranges between 95 to 101, depending on what study you look at. An average IQ, by definition, is 100.
The movies also portray serial killers as beings who want to get caught. They don't. Their only interests in killing are to be:
- "Missionaries". These are the killers who believe they are cleaning up the world from an impurity (e.g., race, immorality).
- "Hedonists". These are the ones who kill for fun, lust, and/or money.
- "Power Seekers". These are the ones who kill for the feeling of power and control.
None of the above classifications even hint that the killer actually wants to get caught. Serial killers don't want to get caught; they want to keep killing.
What makes serial killers so intriguing is that they get away with killing so many people. According to 2012 FBI statistics, 37.5% of murders have no arrest (i.e., the killer gets away with it). What are the odds of getting away with two murders? The math would be 37.5% x 37.5% or about 14%. Three murders would be about 5% and the odds get exponentially smaller. With each murder, the killer has a significantly less chance of getting away with it. They usually aren't very careful when they kill and they usually leave behind a treasure trove of forensic evidence. Ted Bundy was a prime example of someone who wasn't careful but somehow got away with 36+ murders.
So, how do serial killers do it? How do serial killers just seem to know what they can or can't get away with? Perhaps Polarity?