Title

African Americans and Serial Killing in the Media: The Myth and the Reality

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2005

Abstract

There were many expressions of shock and surprise voiced in the media in 2002 when the “D.C. Sniper” turned out to be two Black males. Two of the stereotypes surrounding serial killers are that they are almost always White males and that African American males are barely represented in their ranks. In a sample of 413 serial killers operating in the United States from 1945 to mid-2004, it was found that 90 were African American. Relative to the African American proportion of the population across that time period, African Americans were overrepresented in the ranks of serial killers by a factor of about 2. Possible reasons why so few African American serial killers are known to the public are explored.