Individuals who commit a cumulative and consecutive crime of taking life are perceived to be driven by the uncertain motive, which makes the law enforcement open investigation concerning the target series of a murder crime. Analysis of the latter crime often involves the public and media since serial killers expose copse for the public to see. During the investigation, the behavior of the public and media may interfere with the process since people portray diverse perceptions regarding investigation tools and approaches. Factors that and techniques include; exposure of informants, revealed identity/death of undercover agents, complaints about electronic surveillance, negative perception of the interrogation process, disregard for forensic analysis of physical evidence, and criticism of polygraphs when permitted by sovereign law.
Exposure of informants
Informants are individuals who are secretly isolated from the civilians and mandated to valuable source information about individuals suspected to be the serial killer in question. (Atkinson, 2019) The informant’s data is always perceived as authentic since target suspects are unlikely to identify such people who are seen within the locality and considered typical. Investigative journalists also have higher chances of identifying informants developed by law enforcement and tend to persuade them into revealing the source of information about suspected serial killers. Once the information is collected, the media will never be silent and spread the news that secret sources have shown that the suspect will be apprehended anytime.
When the media states that the suspected serial killer is closer to apprehension, the target serial killer forms new hiding tactics, isolates themselves entirely from the public, and loses the trust of any individual in the vicinity. (Bakhshian et al., 2021)The latter context makes the investigation fail and more complicated than before the media announcement. The media is considered to have interfered with the research closer to completion. The informants lose their chance of getting information and fear being identified by a serial killer to have leaked the data, leading to the termination of the informant’s role in the investigation.
Revealed identity/death of undercover agents
Law enforcement follows leads and patterns to authenticate suspected serial killers during the investigation. (Bienvenu et al.,2021) Once the suspect has been identified, the law agency sends one of the officers to disguise themselves as typical civilians into the area or group within the vicinity of the suspected serial killer. The latter officers are referred to as undercover agents mandated to infiltrate the existing surroundings of alleged criminals in a murder investigation. The media often follows serial killer cases closed due to the pilling of dead bodies within society. The leading law enforcement agency in charge of the matter is asked random questions by reporters eager to know the fate of the investigation.
The agency in charge of investigation fears giving negative comments to the media and always tries to give comforting news that the suspect will be apprehended soon following critical resources on the ground.(Harding, 2021) Serial killers do listen and watch the news since they believe reporters will always give information closer to identifying their hiding environment and identity following suspects being taken for interview. The pattern used by the agency in charge lay proximity to identifying the target killeindividual target use of news reports about suspects taken for consultation by the agency of investigation.
Once the target killer understands that law enforcement is using patterns that may them to real criminals, they set confusion by killing other individuals to distract the agency’s leads and design, making the investigation more complicated than before. (Harding, 2021) Moreover,the serial killer creates a perception of why the study is leading directly to them and starts questioning their surroundings and researching new members who live closely or within the group by monitoring every move they make. When the undercover agent is identified, they are killed with a different method than the one used by the serial killer to confuse law enforcement. (Williams et al.,2018) The media leads serial killers in determining how close or far from being identified by law enforcement due to constant reporting of the investigation process and individuals being taken for questioning.
Complains over electronic surveillance
The law enforcement agency in charge of serial killer investigation identifies specific leads and patterns and sports suspects ‘ routes of interest to be the center of the study. The suspect’s route being used upon, or one suspected to have been used by the suspect at the time of the murder, is surrounded by electronic surveillance. (Jung & Wheeler,2021) Moreover, in the case of electronic surveillance already in place, the footage is taken by the agency in charge of the investigation. The public perceives that when their footage is accepted for analysis, their privacy is being infringed; the footage is their property they installed at their own will for privacy reasons.
The public power to complain is vital in every society since they have the right to keep their property and use it how they deem fit. (Richardson et al., 2019) The latter phenomenon makes the agency in charge withdraw installed electronic surveillance and refrain from collecting footage from public members based on following leads and patterns of serial killers. The public’s complaints lead to a decreased rate of investigation, which can cause failure in capturing the target murder criminal. The latter event portrays the adverse effects of the public on a murder investigation.
The negative perception of the interrogation process
Law enforcement identifies murder suspects and takes them for interrogation concerning the series of death portrayed. Systematic questioning is applied to the suspects who are believed to be real criminals or contain official information that can be used to track the natural killer. (Babanoski & Ilijevski, 2018). The public creates the negative perception that during interrogations, people taken for questioning are given all forms of maltreatment to make them confess to being the target criminal or reveal the serial killers.
The public’s negative perception of interrogation may make the public demonstrate about being taken for interrogation and create chaos in the public domain. (Gau et al., 2022)The latter phenomenon makes the agency in charge reduce or refrain from picking suspects for interrogation since they have the right to be silent and ask for a lawyer if suspected of committing a crime. When the public domain is disrupted, the investigation process is affected by being halted, making the identification of the target killer to be more difficult.
Disregard to forensic analysis of physical evidence and polygraph
During , law enforcement, in collaboration with the forensic department, takes swaps and samples from suspect victims for DNA analysis if they match selections left behind by the target murder criminal. The public may create a tendency and negative perception of the procedure with the notion that collection materials may transmit diseases. They have the right to wait for trial in a court of law without and only agree to give a sample upon command by the judge.
The latter process may take a long time for the judge to grant permission to take a sample of several suspects, which slows down and interferes with the investigation process. On the other hand, suspects disagree with polygraph results if permission is granted by sovereign law. (Elaad, 2022) The public believes that fear and anxiety being experienced by suspects may interfere with polygraph readings and condemn the results leading to disruption of the investigation process.
Law enforcement investigations are a process that applies diverse techniques projected at identifying a criminal suspect. However, the public and media have been placed to interfere with the operation in question through the following ways; exposure of informants and revealed identity/death of undercover agents. Complaints about electronic surveillance, negative perception of the interrogation process, disregard for forensic analysis of physical evidence, and criticism of polygraphs when permitted by sovereign law. The method of investigation relies on public participation to get findings, but the media aims at reporting efforts that are being made during the investigation. Both public and media cause effects the investigation process.
Atkinson, C. (2019). Mind the grass! Exploring the assessment of informant coverage in policing and law enforcement. Journal of Policing, Intelligence, and Counter-Terrorism, 14(1), 1-19.
Babanoski, K., & Ilijevski, I. (2018).Techniques of interrogating police investigation of crimes. KNOWLEDGE-International Journal, 28(6), 2101-2107.
Bakhshian, S., Rabbani, H. S., &Shokri, N. (2021). Physics-driven investigation of wettability effects on two-phase flow in natural porous media: recent advances, new insights, and future perspectives. Transport in Porous Media, 140(1), 85-106.
Bienvenu, A., Martinez, E., &Bonazzi, M. (2021). Undercover Agents of Infection: The Stealth Strategies of T4SS-Equipped Bacterial Pathogens. Toxins, 13(10), 713.
Elaad, E. (2022). Tunnel Vision and Confirmation Bias Among Police Investigators and Laypeople in Hypothetical Criminal Contexts. SAGE Open, 12(2), 21582440221095022.
Gau, J. M., Paoline III, E. A., & Paul, N. D. (2022).De-policing due to public scrutiny: examining officers’ perceptions of negative media attention and willingness to engage in the self-initiated activity. Journal of Crime and Justice, 1-13.
Harding, R. (2021). A comparative study between a range of Victimology, Crime Scene Behaviours, and Forensic Awareness Strategy variables utilized, or not, by Trucker and (Doctoral dissertation, Murdoch University).
Jung, Y., & Wheeler, A. P. (2021).The effect of public surveillance cameras on crime clearance rates. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 1-22.
Richardson, R., Schultz, J. M., & Crawford, K. (2019). Dirty data, wrong predictions: Civil rights violations impact police data, predictive policing systems, and justice. NYUL Rev. Online, 94, 15.
Snippen, J. R., Cheyney, M., & Drake, S. A. (2022). Barriers to the consistent and reliable investigation of sudden unexpected infant death: Perspectives from law enforcement. Journal of forensic sciences.
Williams, C. B., Fedorowicz, J., Kavanaugh, A., Mentzer, K., Thatcher, J. B., &Xu, J. (2018).Leveraging social media to achieve a community policing plan. Government Information Quarterly, 35(2), 210-222.
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