PurposeRapid sequence homicide offenders (RSHOs), formerly spree killers, are an understudied population due to the confusion surrounding their classification in relation to serial murderers. The paper aims to discuss this issue.Design/methodology/approachAn exploratory, comparative analysis of 56 RSHOs and 60 serial murderers was conducted on US-based data from 2014 to 2018 derived from the Consolidated Serial Homicide Offender Database to determine similarities and differences between the cohorts.FindingsRSHOs and serial murderers are similar in that they often kill their victims using a singular method, have limited mobility, kill a similar number of victims both known and unknown to them and are both supremely motivated by domestic anger. There is an inverse relationship between serial murderers and RSHOs: as one group increases in prevalence the other decreases.Practical implicationsIn order to divert men into more pro-social activities, attention must be dedicated to increasing mental health services that provide them with the tools to diffuse their hatred and couple that with effective gun control strategies and ways to enhance the compromised anger management skills of a generation of volatile men.Originality/valueAcademicians have been hesitant to juxtapose these offenders but based this conclusion on surface-level differences. A reimagining of these categorical structures is needed. The once clear delineation between these cohorts may continue to shrink and synchronize until one subsumes the other.
Journal of Criminal Psychology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 1
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