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David E York

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Serial Killers Related to Sharks
by David E York   
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, November 21, 2010
Posted: Sunday, November 21, 2010

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This Essay explains my theory about how serial killers are similar to sharks in the way they act, think, and feel.


 **Dave’s Theory: As humans have progressed and become the dominant form of life on planet Earth, we have lost all of our natural predators. Unlike nearly all other species in nature, humans not only permit, but encourage the weak and infirm to thrive and reproduce. This works exactly backwards form Natural Selection and allows defects and undesirable genetic traits to pass unhampered from generation to generation. Many disorders that should been “bred-out” of the human gene pool centuries ago have now become commonplace. This has led and is leading further to a “genetic devolving” of the human animal as more and more disorders continue to be passed along. Nature, unwilling to be thwarted has thereby begun to develop its own means of culling the herd. During the past century there has been a tremendous surge in the realm of what has become known as Serial Killers. Some theorize that this is entirely incidental or simply the byproduct of a civilized society, however others claim that it is actually a natural method of nature trying to re-balance itself. These “predators within the herd” look and act and behave just as their prey does but psychologically and emotionally they are different creatures entirely, stealthily stalking their victims right under the noses of the general populace. They seek out the object of their murderous passions and strike swiftly and with dread purpose. Given enough time, on an evolutionary scale, these predators may eventually develop into an entirely separate species of human. This theory has been explored widely in both fiction and folklore. After all, what is a vampire or werewolf except a predator that closely resembles its prey giving it the opportunity to stalk and strike with greater efficiency?  Recent studies have found amazing similarities between predators in nature; such as the Great White Shark, Bats, and Tigers, and human serial killers. Both sorts of predators, human and animal, utilize the study of pack behavior, the singling out of an intended victim, and the benefits of a surprise or ambush attack. Both sorts of predator are seen to observe their prey from a close distance rather than rushing in at random for the kill. Both types of predators maintain a “hunting ground” that is convenient and familiar to them but not in the immediate vicinity of their lair. Could these parallels be an accident, or is nature’s way of “trimming the fat” from any given species simply a preprogrammed genetic initiative that has lain dormant until the population levels rose to an unacceptable in-equilibrium? Are we as a species finally reaping the bitter harvest of arrogance and philanthropy that has caused us to operate against the very grain of the natural order? Are the sick, the weak, and the foolish destined to be cut from the pack not by any sociological choices, but by the evolution of a killer species that ultimately serves the goals of the natural world?
Female fireflies of the genus Photuris, for example, copy the light signals of other species, thereby attracting male fireflies which are then captured and eaten
Articles from the Internet:
June 22, 2009 -- Sharks may only kill for food, but they share similar strategies with human serial killers: They lurk out of sight, stalking their victims. Both tend to single out a specific target and draw or drive it away from the highly populated area, they separate their “victim” from the pack. Both also prefer to use surprise, stealth, and speed to render their chances of success to be more likely.
Sharks and human serial killers can both be tracked using geographic profiling, according to a new study that applied this investigative technique to the hunting patterns of great white sharks, the world's largest known predatory fish.
The study, published in the latest Journal of Zoology, marks the first time geographic profiling has ever been used on a marine species.
"As predators, they must get close enough to check out prey and figure out their movements, but they also must be far enough way so that they themselves won't be easily tracked," co-author Neil Hammerschlag told Discovery News.
"They must use known traveling routes," added Hammerschlag, a University of Miami researcher in the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. "For human killers, these would be things like subways, buses and freeways. For great whites, these would include channels, reef edges and other topographical features."
For the study, Hammerschlag worked with shark expert Aidan Martin and former Canadian beat cop Kim Rossmo, who developed the geographic profiling technique and is now at Texas State University.
The researchers observed and recorded 340 great white shark attacks on Cape fur seals in the waters off of Seal Island in South Africa's False Bay. They plotted these attack sites, using a radar chart to examine the distribution of the encounters and noting where the sharks began and ended their attacks.
All else being equal, attack frequency should be directly related to prey density, with sharks lurking where the most seals gather. Surprisingly, that wasn't the case.
The scientists determined sharks instead positioned themselves about 328 feet from the island at a water depth of around 82 feet. Hammerschlag thinks this might provide the optimal balance of being close enough for attack, yet not close enough for detection. A deep water starting point permits momentum, "allowing the shark to build up enough speed to initiate the attack."
The researchers also found that bigadult sharks had very focused anchor points from which they repeatedly launched their offensives. Smaller, younger sharks were less focused.
"This could be because sharks learn to refine their hunting skills over time and know the best spots, or they could dominate smaller sharks and exclude them from the best areas," Hammerschlag explained, adding that cleverness at all attack stages is critical, since seals can do serious damage to sharks.
"A seal can rip a shark's eyes out and they have a lot of bacteria in their mouths that can cause infections when they bite," he said. "Many sharks have face gashes caused by seals."
Nevertheless, it's a shark-eat-seal world, and top predators like sharks play an important role in structuring communities and maintaining ecosystem health. The new findings help to solve mysteries about great white hunting behavior and can help to identify areas for protection -- of both humans and sharks.
"I wouldn't recommend holding a swim meet in known shark attack areas," Hammerschlag deadpanned, adding that boating, oil drilling and other human marine activities should be moved away from the regions for the sake of human and shark safety.
Steven Le Comber, an expert on geographic profiling at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London, believes the investigative technique "is an interesting way to study patterns of animal foraging, and especially predation."
He concluded, "Shark hunting patterns are extremely difficult to study and the work here will have important implications for our understanding of the ways in which predators hunt their prey."
Aug. 8, 2008 -- Studying species in the animal world helps police catch human criminals -- and vice versa. Originally developed to catch serial killers, a method called geographic profiling is now being used to study great white sharks, bats and bees.
In turn, criminologists expect that these biological studies will help refine their criminal studies, making it easier for them to catch criminals more quickly. Eventually they want to apply it to other fields, such as epidemiology.
"The same general geographic framework that criminologists use to catch criminals can be used by zoologists as well," said Kim Rossmo, co-author of an article in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface and a professor at the Texas State University Center for Geospatial Intelligence and Investigation.
"This makes us think that it can be applied to other areas as well, like epidemiology."
Rossmo originally developed geographic profiling back in the 1980's. GP, as its known, has since been adopted by police forces across the world and has been applied in such high profile cases as the BTK Killer and the D.C. Sniper.
GP works on the assumption that, like bats, bees and sharks, serial killers don't work right next to their homes and instead travel to a more distant location to commit crimes, creating a buffer zone around their home or work.
"They want to operate in a comfort zone, close to an area they know but not where everyone knows them," said Rossmo.
By examining the geographic locations of crimes, scientists can determine a general vicinity for the home or work location of a criminal.
The idea to apply GP to animal studies came from watching stickleback fish, said Nigel Raine, a co-author on the JRSI paper and a professor from Queen Mary, University of London.
Sticklebacks create nests for their eggs in the midst of vegetation. They keep vegetation next to their nests intact, to help hide it from predators and parasites, and travel further away to forage.
The researchers tried GP first on bats, and then bees, the subject of the JRSI paper. Another study using GP in sharks is in press.
While the technique works better for some animals (bees) and less well for others (bats), the principle is still the same. By watching where animals feed, researchers can find their homes to study the animals more effectively or to help save endangered or threatened species by identifying what geographic areas need increased protection.
While the new information is certainly valuable to biologists, criminologists are looking at the new studies as a way to perform experiments that would be unethical or flat out impossible in the human world.
"You can control the settings in biology; where you put the flowers, what kind of flowers, et cetera," said Rossmo. "You can't do that with criminal offenders."
Lorie Velarde, a GIS analyst for the Irvine California Police Department, was recently recognized for using GP to catch a burglar who operated for about 20 years.
"[GP] works great," said Velarde. "The cases where it isn't as accurate is where we don't have enough crimes," said Velarde.
That's where the animal studies will have the biggest impact, says Velarde, by refining the models to make them more sensitive so detectives and analysts can find criminals sooner.
"If there is something happening in the animal world it certainly applies to the human world as well," she said.
The next step for GP, according to Rossmo and his colleagues, is to use it to find bigger killers, like disease-carrying mosquitoes and contaminated water.
"If we see a pattern of people being infected with malaria in an area, we can use that data to find a leaking pipe or empty tire and then spray it," said Rossmo.
That technique harkens back to the very beginnings of public health, said Rossmo, when scientists identified the source of a cholera epidemic as a water pump on a certain street using a technique very similar to modern day geographic profiling.
Geographic profiling is an information management system and investigative methodology that evaluates the locations of connected serial crimes to determine the most probable area of offender residence.
It can be applied in cases of serial murder, rape, arson, robbery and bombings.

History & Background

The name most closely associated with geographical profiling is Kim Rossmo.
Rossmo began studying geographical profiling as part of his PhD studies at Simon Fraser University (British Columbia, Canada).
He studied under professors Paul and Patricia Brentingham who developed a theoretical crime model which examined where crimes were most likely to happen, based on offender residence, workplace and leisure activity.
Put simply, the Brentingham model maintains that we all have an 'activity space' related to the areas in which we live, work and play and that this activity space produces a discernible pattern of movement around the city.
In relation to criminal activity, therefore, it follows that an offender has to know about a particular geographical area before he or she begins selecting crimes to commit; and where the offenders movement patterns intersect within this geographical area, will to a large extent determine where the crime takes place.
Kim Rossmo noted that the Brentingham model was examined primarily in relation to crime prevention and was interested in approaching the topic from the opposite perspective i.e. asking the question, what does the location of a crime say about where the offender might live?
Acknowledging the potential investigative use of this research the Vancouver Police Department established the world's first Geographic Profiling Section in 1995. Since its launch, Scotland Yard, The FBI, The New York Police Department and The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have all called upon the services of the geographic profiling section.

How Does Geographical Profiling Work?

As mentioned above, geographical profiling is a strategic information management system employed to support serial violent crime investigation.
Geographic profiling works on the premise that the location of a crime site can provide the police with vital information. It assesses and predicts the offender’s most likely place of residence, place of work, social venues and travel routes etc.
Geographic profiling consists of both quantitative (objective) scientific geographic techniques and qualitative(subjective) components e.g. a reconstruction and interpretation of the offender’s mental map.’
The primary geographic technique is a computerized system known as Criminal Geographic Targeting (CGT). Put simply, spatial data i.e. data relating to time, distance and movement to and from the crime scenes is analyzed to produce a three-dimensional model known as a jeopardy surface.
The jeopardy surface contains height and color probability codes which when superimposed onto a map of the area in which the serial crimes have been committed give an indication of the likelihood of offender residence or place of work.
Although the science underpinning geographic profiling can be difficult to comprehend, it’s easy to see how this approach can offer practical assistance in the course of a criminal investigation.
As Rossmo points out:
"By establishing the probability of the offender residing in various areas and displaying those results on a map, police efforts to apprehend criminals can be assisted. This information allows police departments to focus their investigative efforts, geographically prioritize suspects, and concentrate patrol efforts in those zones where the criminal predator is likely to be active".

Geographical Profiling Process & Methodology

A geographic profile would typically fit into a criminal investigation as follows:
 A series of crimes is committed.
 The crimes are investigated via traditional means.
 Linking analysis conducted to ascertain which crimes are connected.
 Psychological profile of the unknown subject conducted.
 Geographical profile constructed.
 New investigative strategies developed and pursued.
In preparing a geographic profile, a number of operational procedures will be followed. This includes:
 Examination of the case file: Witness statements, autopsy reports & psychological profile (if available).
 Inspection of the crime scene.
 Meetings and discussions with lead investigators.
 Visits to the crime sites when practical.
 Analysis of local crime statistics and demographic data.
 Study of street, zoning and rapid transit maps.
 Overall analysis and report submission.

Essential Reading

Geographic Profiling by D. Kim Rossmo
Book Description
As any police officer who has ever walked a beat or worked a crime scene knows, the street has its hot spots, patterns, and rhythms: drug dealers work their markets, prostitutes stroll their favorite corners, and burglars hit their favorite neighborhoods. But putting all the geographic information together in cases of serial violent crime (murder, rape, arson, bombing, and robbery) is highly challenging. Just ask the homicide detectives of the Los Angeles Police Department who hunted the Hillside Stranglers, or law enforcement officers in Louisiana who tracked the brutal South Side rapist.
Geographic Profiling introduces and explains this cutting-edge investigative methodology in-depth. Used to analyze the locations of a connected series of crimes to determine the most likely area of offender residence, geographic profiling allows investigators and law enforcement officers to more effectively manage information and focus their investigations.
This extensive and exhaustive work explains geographic profiling theories and principles, and includes an extensive review of the literature and research in the areas of criminal profiling, forensic behavioral science, serial violent crime, environmental criminology, and the geography of crime. For investigators and police officers deployed in the field, as well as criminal analysts, Geographic Profiling is a "must have" reference.

Web Site: Serial Killers Related to Sharks

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