Criminology Why are shooters mostly male?

Homicidal crime
Homicidal crimes stand out clearly from normal and everyday crime due to the severity of the crime and the consequences of irretrievably destroyed human life. They are of particular importance not only in public perception - especially with regard to the investigation of the crime - they are also characterized by the complexity of the crime, the motives of the perpetrator and the mostly existential consequences for the victims. Egg (2002) does not see the killing of human life as a mere violation of norms, but as a breach of a central social taboo: Anyone who kills another person is crossing one of the final limits of transcultural rules.

Homicidal crimes include homicides, including offenses against life (Sections 211, 212 of the Criminal Code). These include the criminal offenses of murder (Section 211 StGB), manslaughter (Section 212 StGB), homicide on request (Section 216 StGB), genocide (Section 220a StGB) and negligent homicide (Section 222 StGB). German criminal law assumes - like most legal systems - a three-tier structure of intentional homicides; from the normal case of manslaughter, the offense of murder is sharpened, and killing on request as well as manslaughter in a less serious case (Schöch, 2002,71). What the aforementioned criminal offenses have in common is that they cover behavior that is directly directed against a person's life.
In contrast, the termination of pregnancy (§§ 218 ff StGB) is a criminal offense against the germinating life; The object of the crime is not a person within the meaning of criminal law, but the fruit of the mother-to-be (Möllers, 2001, 1615). Genocide: As genocide or genocide, certain types of behavior are punishable in Section 220a of the Criminal Code if they are carried out with the intention of completely or partially destroying a national, racial, religious or ethnic group as such, in particular by killing of group members (Möllers, 2001, 1800). Genocide is primarily not a crime against life, but a crime against humanity (Möllers, 2001, 1615).

Kreuzer (2002, 51), on the other hand, uses a pragmatic five-stage gravity classification of offenses according to guilt and criminality, starting at the lowest level:
(1) Negligent homicide
(2) Deliberate homicide with the consent of the victim (e.g. "Euthanasia, as it is now legalized in part under Dutch law)
(3) Deliberate killing while affecting or in conflict, usually in close social proximity
(4) Deliberate killing from a distance (e.g. for sexual or enrichment motives)
(5) serial, mass or genocide.

The FBI differentiates the terms according to the number of victims, the crime scenes and the events and comes to the following categories (Ressler et al., 1995, 138):

Single, double and triple murderers: You kill one or more people in one place during the event, the difference only arises from the number of victims.

Mass murderer: He kills his victims in the same place and in the course of the same crime. The number of victims is four or more killed. Mass murderers are perpetrators who, for example, shoot people at random in one place, detonate bombs in public places, etc. The perpetrator is not concerned with killing certain people. The perpetrators of so-called school shootings are usually included in this group (example: Columbine High School in Littleton, USA).

Hoffmann & Musolff (2000, 164) define the scatter killer (“Spree killer”) as follows: In a short period of time, the perpetrator kills several victims at different crime scenes. These acts are part of a storyline and the sequence extends over a period of time. There are no phases between the individual actions in which the high level of arousal of the perpetrator is weakened. This type of procedure is categorized under the term "running amok".
Hermanutz & Kersten (2003, 101) give the following example: The secondary school teacher Ernst Wagner killed his wife and four children in Stuttgart-Degerloch in September 1913 while they were sleeping unsuspectingly. He cut the woman's throat with a dagger, shot the children with a revolver, then drove to Mühlhausen, set the village on fire in four places and shot all sorts of people with two pistols. After killing eight residents instantly and seriously injuring 12 others, he was overwhelmed.
In April 2002, the former student Robert S. shot dead 12 teachers, two students, a secretary and a police officer at the Gutenberg High School in Erfurt. He then killed himself.

Serial Killer: You kill three or more people at different locations at intervals. It is always an act that has ended. Examples: Norbert P. (the "hammer murderer" in the Stuttgart area), Peter Kürten (Düsseldorf), Pommerenke (Baden-Württemberg), Horst David (Bavaria).

Homicides can also be classified based on motive. Based on the primary motive, the FBI divides it into four groups: relationship, enrichment, sexual and group dynamic offenses (Hoffmann & Musolff, 2000, 165).

Extent of homicide
According to the police crime statistics (PKS) 2006, the proportion of offenses against life in the total crime rate is 0.1%, for homicides (including attempts) at 0.04%, for convictions it is approx. 0.1% . The 1st Periodic Safety Report of the Federal Government (1st PSB) from 1999 refers to the lack of informative value of the PKS due to the distortion factors and the influencing factors in the funnel-shaped filtering process of the bright field. Although the respective statistics of the PKS and the criminal prosecution statistics, based on the respective year, are not directly comparable, the following example conveys the filtering process: In 1998, 2,728 persons of criminal responsibility were determined in the old federal states, who the police considered to be convicted, an intentional one To have committed homicide; in the same year, however, only 875 final convictions for murder / manslaughter were counted.

Homicides count in the PKS to the sum key of violent crime. However, this term also includes other offenses, including robbery, rape and assault. For the sake of better comparability, only homicides in the sense of the word are examined more closely. According to the 1st PSB, only 1.5% of the violent crimes registered by the police are homicides. On the other hand, dangerous or serious bodily harm, with 61.4%, and robbery and extortion, which make up around a third, account for the largest share of violent crime. The number of willful homicides has remained largely constant since the late 1970s - while at the same time the number of bodily harm has doubled - and has been falling since 1993; According to the PKS, the frequency number (HZ) fell from 4.8 in 1995 to 3.5 in 1999, while the number of victims fell from 4,430 to 2,889. This decline was preceded by a slight increase in the early 1990s. This is due to the processing and statistical recording of homicides by the central investigation agency for government and association crime. Most of these were deaths at the border or in prisons in the GDR.

According to the Federal Government's 2nd Periodic Safety Report (2nd PSB) from 2006, a trend continues for both murder and manslaughter that was already described in the 1st PSB for the period from 1980: the number of homicides that have been committed has been going on since 1999 from 1005 cases to 804 cases fell by a fifth, in 2006 the number even fell to 727. In addition, the proportion of attempted homicides has increased slightly since the early 1990s. This can be traced back to the police upgrading (tendency towards overvaluation) of offenses, e.g. from dangerous bodily harm to homicidal offenses, i.e. that in case of doubt the facts that are difficult to assess are more likely to be assumed. Kreuzer (2002, 60) also sees an urban-rural divide here. According to his findings, there were more dramatic overvaluation tendencies in rural areas than in cities. The police tendency to overestimate the criminal offenses, however, goes hand in hand with redefinition processes on the part of the judiciary.

Clearance rate
According to the police crime statistics of the Federal Criminal Police Office for 2006, the clearance rate for homicides registered by the police has been over 90% in the past ten years; in 2006 it was over 95%. According to Feltes (1995, 44), in addition to the particular intensity of investigations in the case of capital offenses, this often corresponds to the fact that these offenses are predominantly committed in close social proximity and mostly result from an ongoing conflict or current dispute. The clear-up rate for serial murders is likely to be much lower. Harbort (2007, 84) assumes that it is around 82% and thus noticeably below the value known overall for homicides. One reason for this could be that in the area of ​​serial offenses there are usually no prior relationships between the perpetrator and the victim.

Dark field
According to Kreuzer (2002, 48), the size of the dark field varies depending on the offense. Because of its nature and its uncertainty as regards content, the dark field of undetected killings is always left out of consideration; in it, however, shifts of characteristics and differentiation criteria could be significant. The dark field research also reaches its limits with the peculiarity of the "double dark field". This "double unreported field" consists of criminal offenses that are neither known to the police nor reported, nor can they be (fully) recorded in the context of the dark field research, because the victims do not want to report these offenses under any circumstances (neither to the police nor to interviewers) (Schwind , 2006, 45). However, it is precisely with regard to the social environment that a certain proportion of undetected cases can be assumed. For decades, forensic doctors such as Prof. Pollak (2006, 112) have been pointing out that the post-mortem examination practiced in Germany does not adequately fulfill one of its main tasks, namely the detection of unnatural deaths. Most of the time, it is a matter of errors in the medical and police inquiries, in which killings were erroneously classified as natural deaths. In an investigation of 13,000 deaths by Prof. Brinkmann (2002, 32) from the University of Münster, 350 deaths were filtered out that had been classified as natural in the course of the medical investigation. 92 of these cases had a non-natural type of death (including accidents, suicides, killings), so the result of the autopsy showed that every 4th case was non-natural. In an extrapolation based on the total number of judicial sections of around 18,000 per year, Prof. Brinkmann (2002, 33) comes to the conclusion that around 17 homicides occur in a subgroup of around 500 deaths that were previously classified as natural. The type of death "unexplained" also causes problems at the inquest. In a further study 1,800 cases with the preliminary diagnosis “unexplained” were examined. Of these, 717 cases were non-natural by section (Brinkmann, 2002, 33). Overall, Brinkmann assumes that there are two to three undetected cases of one registered homicide in relation to the number of unreported cases.

According to Madea & Dettmeyer (2003, 3161), the cause of the “misery of medical examinations” also results from the fact that the extermination legislation in the Federal Republic of Germany falls within the competing legislative competence of the federal states. The failures in the medical inquest have been known for decades, the causes range from structural and organizational aspects, medical deficits, errors in the investigative authorities to situational circumstances. According to these experts, 6% of clinicians regularly - and only - attest a natural death, 30% also tick a natural death in the event of violence, poisoning, suicide or medical intervention. Errors and mistakes are also inevitable due to the fact that the majority of doctors only carry out very few post-mortem examinations per year. A survey of coroners selected at random showed that only a quarter of them always stripped the corpse, although this is an essential part of the duties of the medical inquest. Brinkmann (2002, 39) also recognizes three main sources for the causes: the causes on the part of the doctor, on the part of the police and in the frequency of the dissection. While in the case of medical deficits, the careless examination, e.g. on the clothed corpse, does not lead to any consequences, which is one of the biggest causes of the dark field, the police investigations are often one-sidedly aimed at establishing a natural death. Only secondarily is it a matter of determining death through third-party negligence (Brinkmann, 2002, 40). He recommends increasing the frequency of sections with a view to the Netherlands, where the increase is accompanied by a doubling of the homicide rate. "The detection of such cases is exclusively a question of the frequency of the examination, of course also of the quality of the examination" (Brinkmann, 2002, 43). Pollak (2006, 113) even sees the increase in the frequency of sections as a preventive aspect that is often overlooked: With a view to serial killings in hospitals and old people's homes, suspected cases can only be detected through an autopsy examination, thereby convicting the perpetrators and allowing them to inspect others similar follow-up acts are prevented. It would undoubtedly be better to entrust officially appointed "coroners" with the examination of the corpse. The possibility of having the post-mortem examination carried out by any resident doctor raises problems, since these physicians are not sufficiently trained in the procedure and carrying out the post-mortem examination and have more of an eye on the medical cause of death, because the determination of the type of death in the differentiation "natural", " non-natural ”or“ unexplained ”.

The complexity of actions in homicides is also reflected in how the perpetrator is viewed with his personality and in his social relationships.
Despite a global trend towards “profiling”, there are no exact typologies of perpetrators and no special profiles of the classic murderer. Kaiser (1996, 721) generally does not see the murderer as a professional or habitual criminal, so - with the exception of serial offenders - no special typology can be assumed. He refers to studies of the 60s and 70s, according to which among the professions the murderer, "workers, especially unskilled and casual workers, and afterwards the craftsmen" predominate; Over 90% of the registered perpetrators can be assigned to the lower social classes. The abysses of human activity will always remain the subject of research. In particular, questions regarding responsibility within the meaning of of the determinism dispute are raised here.

An analysis in the 2nd PSB with regard to the age and gender structure of the suspects in homicides shows that in both 1999 and 2005 they were predominantly male; Most of the suspects (82.9% in 1999 and 83.2% in 2005) were adults, but the suspect burden number (TVBZ) is highest in the 18 to 30-year-old age segment. As part of the Marburg studies on violent and killing delinquency, a cross-sectional analysis was carried out on 65 violent and killing delinquents. If one considers the main motives that led to the act, it emerges that in 26% of the cases conflict-related acts of violence and killing were in the foreground, followed by drug- and alcohol-induced acts as well as acts in connection with robbery - 20% each - (Remscheid et al., 2002, 143). The intelligence distribution of the test subjects, however, corresponded to a normal distribution. The comparison between single and serial sexual killers is also informative for the prognosis.In a study by Hill & Berner (2002, 171) on a total of 42 sexually motivated killing delinquents, the multiple offenders were characterized by a greater degree of paraphilias, in particular rape, killing fantasies and fetishism, but also transvestism; Among the serial offenders there tended to be more with an above-average IQ, the crime scene more often showed signs of organized crime, especially with a tendency to cover up. Research into sexually motivated homicides, on the other hand, is only just beginning. An attempt to combine empirical findings with theoretical considerations leads, according to Hill & Berner (2002, 173), to the following characteristics for the occurrence of sexually motivated killings: The unfavorable, often unstable and inconsistent relationships in the primary family and personal experiences of physical abuse appear to be decisive and sexual abuse, lack of support, but also inadequate control and intervention in the case of aggressive attacks on animals and other children that occur at an early age.

The discussion about killing crime is usually very perpetrator-centered, the focus is less on the victims. However, there is a special obligation towards victims and their relatives when it comes to "dealing with" the consequences of the crime in the form of "victim follow-up". More than half of homicides are so-called relationship crimes, i.e. the victims are relatives and close friends. In the cases in which the relationship between perpetrator and victim could be clarified, according to the 2006 police crime statistics, two thirds of the committed murder and manslaughter were relatives and acquaintances; only 10.9% had no prior relationship. An analysis of the number of homicides by gender and the type of perpetrator-victim relationship shows that the considerable decline in homicides observed in the longitudinal section from 1995 to 2005 mainly affects male victims. According to the 2nd PSB, it can be seen that declines in registered homicides mainly affect incidents without prior relationship; this suggests that homicides in public spaces among strangers have decreased significantly over time, which affects men in particular. However, this decrease does not affect the immediate social area. As a result of these changes - above all the increase in violence in the immediate vicinity - politicians were also prompted to pass the Protection Against Violence Act (Act to improve civil protection in the event of acts of violence and stalking and to make it easier to leave the marital home in the event of separation) in order to prevent potential To better protect victims and those at risk.
The highest risk of victims (1999: 7.3; 2005: 5.9) can be found among adolescents; however, it has decreased over the course of the years between 1999 and 2005 - in line with the overall trend; While the proportion of male victims is highest among adults and adolescents, children, along with older people over 60, represent the group with the lowest risk of victimization. However, there is also an increased number of unrecognized homicides.

Individual manifestations range from the classic act of relationship to the killing man through to cases of child homicide in connection with and as a result of abuse or neglect by the parent or guardian (starving or dying of thirst). These cases particularly stir up the population, they usually also reveal omissions and faults on the part of the responsible authorities.
Killings also take place in terrorism against representatives of the state and the economy (example: “Red Army Faction”) and against the population (“9/11”).
In the area of ​​government crime, the order to shoot the inner German wall and the targeted killing of “republic refugees” should be mentioned.
Homicides also exist as ancillary offenses, e.g. to enable a main offense. Police officer Norbert P. killed three people in the Stuttgart area in the mid-1980s in order to get their cars. With this he drove to a financial institution, smashed the safety glass on the counter with a heavy hammer and forced the surrender of cash. The perpetrator, dubbed a “hammer murderer”, ended up killing his entire family and then committing suicide.
There are homicides in connection with other crimes, including sexual and property crimes. In the overwhelming number of sexually motivated homicides, the intention to rape is likely to be the perpetrator's primary motive. Rauch (2002, 101) came to the conclusion in a study of sexual offenses committed in the years 1987-1996 that 71% of the killings were committed out of fear of discovery. “Killings for pure pleasure”, on the other hand, are more likely to be assigned to a small group of sadists. In addition, there are cases in which a homicide is committed "on order, for example in connection with organized crime (examples in Germany from 2007: Duisburg and Sittensen), terrorism (examples" Red Army Faction "or" 9/11 ") ) or cross-sectoral crime (arms smuggling, secret service activities, government crime, see Barschel case); There is no criminological knowledge of such "hit men", i.e. about paid killers, for the German area, but one can generally (still) assume that these are foreign perpetrators who were specifically committed to the commission of the crime enter the federal territory (Feltes, 1995, 47). In his opinion, the "typical" killing delinquent is statistically the absolutely atypical offender, since he acts in the immediate social environment from a conflict situation of varying intensity; Even without a typology of perpetrators, good investigative successes can be achieved here. The consideration of serial offenders is somewhat more differentiated, especially in the area of ​​sex murders. Perpetrators like Fritz Haarmann or Peter Kürten, who went down in crime history as the “Vampire of Düsseldorf”, show that in the vast majority of cases there was only a vague or no prior relationship between the perpetrator and the victim.

Murderous crime has always played a prominent role in media coverage. The media therefore has a special responsibility in reporting and requires an extremely sensitive approach to crime, perpetrators and victims. On the one hand, spectacular cases lead to particularly sensational headlines to cover the capital crimes. On the other hand, addressing the crime and the offender mostly neglects the victim's perspective and concerns. Rückert (2002) denounces this in her book under the title “Dead have no lobby”. This seems to be particularly noticeable in cases of neglect of the child's best interests resulting in death. The fight for audience quotas and circulation numbers should therefore adequately take into account both the interests of the victims and their relatives and the stirring up of crime fears in the population (keyword: subjective feeling of security) through the effect of inadequate reporting. In cases of rampage and threats of rampage, media coverage can often trigger offenses with resonance (committing similar or similar offenses) by so-called copycat offenders.

Methods of solving cases
In addition to the traditional methods of investigating homicides, new approaches to case processing have been developed in forensics, including the "criminalistic case analysis" (Schwarz & Kroll, 2001), in which abductive approaches are used in addition to inductive and deductive inferences. The term “profiling”, which originated in the USA and has been incorrectly translated in this country and which is firmly established in serial crimes, was adopted by the Federal Criminal Police Office at the end of the 1990s and traded under the name “Operative Case Analysis” (OFA). According to the definition of the federal-state project group “Quality standards of case analysis”, the operative case analysis is a criminalistic tool that aims to understand the case, especially in the case of unexplained homicides and sexual violent crimes, on the basis of objective data and the most comprehensive information possible about the victim in-depth, to develop information to support the investigation. The "Offender Profiling" is part of the operational case analysis, with which an attempt is made to describe the (unknown) perpetrator by linking the known information in such a way that he can be recognized by other persons in the sense of a perpetrator-type hypothesis can be distinguished (Schwind, 2006, 12). Serial murders and rapes in Canada and the USA led to the development and introduction of the PC-based information processing program "ViCLAS" (Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System, linking system for the detection of series in sexually motivated acts of violence - in the USA "ViCAP"). The basics go back to the questioning of serial killers and rapists in the USA by the FBI's Behavior Science Unit. According to Witt and Dern (2002, 109), the operational case analysis (OFA) in connection with the ViCLAS system represents an approach that goes far beyond the "profiling" known from the media. This method bundles the criminological knowledge accumulated over centuries and combines it with other scientific disciplines in order to be able to make statements on the course of the case and, if necessary, on the perpetrator's personality based on the perpetrator's behavior. It is deeply rooted in the knowledge and experience of criminology, has increased the variety of methods, opened up further sources of criminological knowledge and increased the systematics of methodological applications.
Police case analysts are based in the OFA units at the central offices of the federal and state governments and support the local offices in their investigative work in cases of serious crime - primarily sexually motivated violent crimes and homicides - by reconstructing the offense, creating perpetrator profiles, the Geographical localization of the perpetrator area, the provision of information on the investigation and other advisory services (Bauermann & Vick, 2006, 465). These special agencies now have 40 certified "police case analysts". The English term "Profiler" is used colloquially, but the term "case analyst" is more appropriate in terms of content, because creating a profile without the previously carried out case analysis would be dubious and because a "profile" always relates to the entire criminal case.
Analysis of perpetrator behavior can also play a role in preparing and conducting legal proceedings; In Germany, an analysis of the course of events for a court case was first carried out in 1997 to help clarify the question of whether an alleged murderer could also be responsible for the rape of three prostitutes (Hoffmann & Musolff, 2000, 19).

Newer scientific investigation methods (DNA analysis) have helped the investigating authorities to use the "genetic fingerprint" to investigate, in particular, unexplained capital crimes (homicides and sexual crimes), so-called "cold cases", which have occurred decades ago. The clearing-up rate continued to rise. At the Federal Criminal Police Office there is also a review of "old cases" in the area of ​​homicides with regard to the applicability of these investigation methods.

Individual research projects are also trying to find new approaches to forecasting criminal careers in the area of ​​sexual offenses and homicides, in order to be able to take special preventive action on test subjects at an early stage.
In the context of research projects, including the project "APES" (analytically supported prioritization of investigations in sexual offenses) of the Berlin University of Applied Sciences and the study by the BKA on "Previous findings in rape offenses", it becomes clear that many serious criminals, before they commit rape or murder, have an almost identical structure in terms of their age, their previous police knowledge in relation to the individual sections of the StGB and the subsidiary laws, the average number of previous police knowledge and the breadth of the offense (Straub & Witt, 2002, 52). The question arises to what extent these typical careers of criminals are predictable and who will embark on which career. In terms of knowledge management, the “APES” concept focuses on continuously integrating criminological knowledge into police practice and demonstrates technical and cooperative-communicative methods to effectively merge existing police knowledge.


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Ottmar Kroll