Why does the US have more serial killers than the rest of the world?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, we must realize that the US does not necessarily have more serial killers than other countries.  It is hard to define exactly who is and is not a serial killer.  It is also true that different countries have police forces of different qualities.  In other countries, it might be possible that many serial killers would never be caught because the police are simply not able to catch them.  This would make it seem that other countries have fewer serial killers.  Finally, we must also take the size of the population into account, recognizing that the US is the third most populous country in the world and by far the biggest with a truly modern police system.

That said, it is still interesting to ask why the US has so many serial killers.  The truth is that we simply do not know since we are still not able to fully understand why people become serial killers.  Some possible reasons include:

  • A culture of violence.  US culture glorifies violence in some ways.  Violent movies have always been popular and violent video games have been popular for decades.  This may make potential serial killers feel more like violence is acceptable.
  • A lack of social cohesion.  In the US, we don’t have much in the way of tight-knit communities anymore.  People move around a lot.  They do not get to know their neighbors.  There is little social cohesion and so people may feel more free to act on their impulses.
  • A sexualized culture.  Many serial killers seem to have some degree of sexual motive to their crimes.  This may be because American culture features sex so prominently while, in some ways, making it a forbidden thing.  This might make for sexual frustrations that can mix with other frustrations to create serial killers.