Long-term media coverage creates immense pressure on law enforcement efforts
Management of departmental resources
Who will take charge of the investigation and maintain a coordinated flow of command?
Coordinate investigations, reporting, and expenditure of resources need to be addressed
Unusual complexity of the case
Numerous victims, locations, and modes of death can create problems in sorting out evidence, investigative leads, and so on
Belonging to or used in courts of law
Was the killer involved in fantasy about killing, simply planning to kill, or both? Was the act spontaneous or did the murderer have a plan, including a designated day and time laid out prior to the attack?
Method and manner
What type of victim or victims did the murderer choose and what method was used to kill (e.g. poisoning, shooting, stabbing, etc.)?
Did the murder(s) and body disposal occur in the same location?
Is the killer using the media to insert himself into the investigation? Does the killer make contact with investigators?
Methodical, premeditated, mature, resourceful, and usually involves sexual perversion in the offense
Acts randomly, opportunistically, opposite of the organized offender, and often with some form of mental disorder
Tunnel vision, which facilitates errors in reasoning
Groupthink, to which investigators sometimes succumb as a function of working in their agencies
"Prosecutor's fallacy," where an assumption that the odds of a statistical event points strongly to the odds of a defendant being guilty
Individuals attracted to offenders who befriend and follow them through the criminal justice process
A serial offender may tell interviewers exactly what he or she wants them to hear or conversely, what he or she thinks the interviewers want to hear
The interview is tainted by the biases of the researcher based on prior experience or knowledge about the offender or case
False positives or false negatives
False positives means the researcher predicts behavior by the subject but is wrong in his or her prognosis. Conversely, false negatives means that the researcher predicts that certain behaviors will not occur in a subject but they do.
Weighing current factors
Researchers need to examine the case in its entirety. The subject must be examined in his current status as well as where he has come from. Subjects are in transition and need to be viewed as dynamic, not static, entities.
Researchers sometimes are quick to make comparisons in a subject's behaviors and outside events.
The researcher has gained some experience and therefore comes to expect certain responses from the subject. This can be very costly if the researcher begins to over-guide the subject.
The researcher sometimes fails to connect with the subject because the researcher exudes a sense of superiority, or insight unavailable to the subject. The researcher must remember that prison visits are not visits to the zoo.
Researchers sometimes are mesmerized by the notoriety of the killer, causing the researcher to focus on unusual aspects of the case without understanding the meaning of those behaviors
Incarcerating chronic offenders for longer periods of time than other offenders
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