TRUE crime documentaries are becoming more and more popular, but do you actually know what makes someone a serial killer?

From mass murderers to medical killers, find out how to spot the different types of killers.

What is a serial killer?

A serial killer is a person who has killed three or more people in at least a month.

The murders must be separate events with a gap in time between each one for the culprit to be defined as a serial killer.

The most common motive for a serial killer is psychological gratification, or 'attention seeking'.

The method of killing is often similar for all the victims, and the victims themselves may all have something in common.

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What's the difference between serial killers and mass murderers?

Mass murderers kill many people in a single event, or killing spree, usually at a single location.

They do not kill over a long period of time like serial killers do.

Mass murderers also tend to end their own life at the end of the event, although this is not always the case.

It is also common for serial killers to get sexual pleasure from their killings, whilst mass murderers typically do not.

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What are the signs of a serial killer?

The three main signs that someone may become a serial killer are arson, harming animals, and wetting the bed past the age of 5.

Another one of the biggest signs of a serial killer is antisocial behaviour.

If a person was once a lively child but is now a loner, this could be a warning sign.

Most serial killers were abused as children by a close family member – whether this be physical, sexual, or psychological abuse.

Serial killers also tend to be manipulative and lack empathy and remorse.

What are the different types of serial killers?

Organised Killer

Organised killers are usually highly intelligent and carefully plan their killings.

It is common for organised killers to watch their victims for days before and create a detailed plan of how they will kidnap them.

Organised killers are the most difficult type of serial killer to catch because they are careful not to leave behind evidence.

Disorganised Killer

Disorganised killers rarely plan out their killings.

The victims tend to be people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Disorganised killers do not try to avoid leaving evidence behind, but instead usually move around to different areas quickly.

Medical Killer

A medical killer is someone who works in the medical profession, suchas a doctor in hospital.

It is not unusual for people to die in hospital and medical killers such as Harold Shipman use this to their advantage.

However, medical killers are rare because they usually get caught by other doctors and nurses.

Do serial killers ever stop killing?

Surprisingly, yes serial killers do sometimes stop.

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If a serial killer's own life becomes more stable, for example their family life, they may stop killing.

Some serial killers stop out of fear of getting caught.

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