Serial and single-victim rapists: differences in crime-scene violence, interpersonal involvement, and criminal sophistication


  • The data for this study were taken from closed, fully adjudicated state and local cases that were given to the FBI Behavioral Science Unit by law-enforcement agencies around the United States for the purpose of research. All identifiers, including names of victims, suspects, offenders, officers, departments, and correctional agencies, have been removed, and only aggregate data have been reported. The authors would like to express their gratitude to the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit for coordinating this effort. The authors' opinions, statements, and conclusions should not be considered an endorsement by the FBI of any policy, program, or service.


Three categories of crime-scene behaviors (violence, interpersonal involvement, and criminal sophistication) among a group of 22 serial and 22 single-victim rapists were studied. Findings indicate that serial rapists were more likely to display a higher level of criminally sophisticated behaviors to avoid detection, whereas single-victim rapists were more likely to behave violently and engage in some form of interpersonal involvement with their victims. Implications of these findings for investigation and for understanding offenders' behavior are discussed. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.