- History of a troubled childhood and/or a broken family
- History of violence against others and against animals
- Fixation on fire at a young age
- History of bedwetting
- Unable to hold on to long-term relationships (however, the killer may have been/be married, or have children, but they are emotionally distant from their family)
- May have a physical deformity
- May have a head injury
- Around 25-35 years of age
- Interest in pornography, specifically violent pronography
The criminal profile of a serial killer can be better established once it has been determined whether the killer is organized or disorganized.
Organized serial killers are planners: the plan everything from the abduction, the murder itself, and the escape from the scene. These killers often have a certain ‘type’ which they victimize, and often stalk their victim ahead of time while they formulate a plan. These killers are often intelligent, methodological and orderly, socially competent, and employed. Organized killers are more likely than disorganized killers to be married and have children. They are charming, and will often use their charm to deceive their victims. These killers will have a vehicle and bring their own weapons to the murder scene. If the killer takes a trophy it will generally not be a body part as they decompose and smell. Their crime scenes contain signature elements; they act out a fantasy and are perfectionists. Organized killers follow themselves in the media and the longer they continue to kill, the harder they are to catch.
Disorganized serial killers are unpredictable and act without a strict plan, which can make them just as difficult to catch as organized killers. These killers attack based on opportunity, usually close to where they live (usually have no vehicle). They too have murderous fantasies, but their fantasies are very vague and incomplete compared to those of an organized killer. Disorganized killers are often socially inept and are either unemployed or have a low skilled job. They make no effort to hide what they have do not attempt to to clean up the crime scene. They use weapons found at the scene and often ‘overkill’, leaving the bodies of their victims mutilated. If a disorganized killer takes a souvenir, it is most likely a body part.