The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice: M.S.


Criminal Justice


School of Public Affairs

First Advisor

Robert S. Prout

Second Advisor

F. Barry Schreiber

Third Advisor

David H. Overy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

VICAP, serial murder, sexual homicide



This study was conducted in order to describe both the problems law enforcement agencies have with serial murder and how the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP) can be utilized to counter these types of killers. An overview is given of the development of VICAP, which formally came into existence in 1985. Thereafter follows an analysis of the psychological motivations and behavioral traits exhibited by serial/sexual killers, and how these traits can be used by members of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit to develop a Criminal Investigative Analysis (psychological profile) of these offenders. The data analysis of this thesis has been conducted to ascertain out how effectively the VICAP program has been made known to U.S. law enforcement agencies and how serious the problem of serial murder has been in the United States over the past six years (1982-1988).


Three hundred forty-four surveys on serial murder were sent to state, local and county law enforcement agencies in four states: California, New York, Florida and Texas. This was done to ascertain how aware law enforcement agencies (which had jurisdiction over a population of 50,000 or more) from those states were of the VICAP program. The survey also requested information from each agency on the number of VICAP Crime Analysis Reports filled out; the number of serial murder suspects the agency apprehended or helped apprehend; average number of agencies coordinated with during serial murder investigations; and whether a Criminal Investigative Analysis was requested during these investigations.


Law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction over a population of 100,000 citizens or more are far more likely to be aware of the VICAP program, to be involved in more serial murder investigations and to assist in apprehending more suspects than law enforcement agencies with jurisdictions between 50,000-100,000 citizens. Of the four states surveyed, Florida has been involved in the most serial murder investigations per agency and has apprehended (or helped apprehend) the most serial murder suspects per agency.

OCLC Number