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How many murders does one have to commit to become a "serial killer"?
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How many murders does one have to commit to become a "serial killer"?

It was a question in my history class the other day & I was just wondering.


Pat B
Defining serial murder
The term serial killer is widely believed to have been coined either by FBI agent Robert Ressler or by Dr. Robert D. Keppel in the 1970s (the credit for the term is still disputed). Serial killer entered the popular vernacular in large part due to the well-publicized crimes of Ted Bundy and David Berkowitz ("Son of Sam") in the middle years of that decade.
The term allows criminologists to distinguish those who kill several people over a long period of time from those who kill several people during a single event (mass murderers). A third type of multiple killer is a spree killer.

The following are brief definitions of these three types:

SERIAL KILLERS are people who kill on at least three occasions, taking breaks between murders. The crimes committed are a result of a compulsion that may have roots in the killer's (often dysfunctional) youth and psychopathological disorders, as opposed to those who are motivated by financial gain (e.g., contract killers) or ideological/political motivations (e.g., terrorism, democide).

A MASS MURDERER, on the other hand, is an individual who commits multiple murders in a single event and in one location. The perpetrators sometimes commit suicide, therefore knowledge of their state of mind and what triggers their actions is often left to speculation.

A SPREE killer commits multiple murders in different locations over a period of time that may vary from a few hours to several days. Unlike serial killers, however, they do not take a long break and resume their everyday lives between slayings.

I hope this helps

At least three spread out over a period of time. One who murders a bunch of people all at the same time is considered a mass murderer.

"A serial killer is a person who murders three or more people with a 'cooling off' period between each murder and whose motivation for killing is largely based on psychological gratification."

A serial killer is a person who murders three or more people with a 'cooling off' period between each murder and whose motivation for killing is largely based on psychological gratification

Autumn Storm
I would think more than three people, because their have been some men convicted of killing women that was pregnant, and you seen what happened to them. They get by with crap like that, if their lawyer is paid good enough. I would guess about three people, because men that kill pregnant women are not charged as serial killers.

Lot in his cave
There are two types of killers - those that do it in the heat of the moment and generally have no need to do it again, and those that kill because they enjoy it and want to do it again. generally a serial killer will be the latter and would have to kill more than once to label them as such.
An indiviudal may be caught after their first murder but if they retain the capacity and desire to kill again they are no less a potential serial killer

The Fair Melissa
Technically i would say 2 or more. Usually it consists of more though. In my personal opinion anyone that can kill once and then still consciously go on and kill another in cold blood is a serial killer.

a person who kills three or more people on three or more different occasions is known as a serial killer. Also the motives behind his/ her killings are largely psychological

In most areas, it's considered to be three. Depends on where you are.

1 would be murder obviously so yo'd be a murderer.
I think it would have to be like 3 or something, watch the film zodiac and watch when they say he's a murderer and then after he's killed like 2 more he becomes a serial killer.

I would guess anything more than 1.

After three or four they are on their way.

Its Me

Is this a trick question, lol?

ā¯‰giggle bugā¯‰
ummmmmmm, idk, but u scared me cuz i thought u were trying to get a record cuz u were one or something. oh well. that is a good question though!

i once heard an f.b.i. agent say 3 or more over a period of time,.....

More than one murder technically awards you the title of "serial killer" or "mass murderer", but the media usually uses the phrase to refer to people responsible for a group of several more killings, usually three, four, five or more.


I believe it's just more then one.

Ted C

c c
more than 1

oh, im glad it was just a question from your history class.

oh, and idk how many murders you have to commit.

theres no specific number. just if the killer keeps on killing

Are you trying to apply for a job?

I believe more than 2 usually begins to show patterns of evolving behaviors.

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