How many black serial killers are there compared to white serial killers and those of other races? Are there equal amounts of both, or is there a large discrepancy between the two? Those are the questions we look to answer as we look at the most prolific and the most evil black serial killers.
In an article on murder rate by race we discussed how there is a sizable difference between the numbers of white murderers and black murderers, even though it’s not easy to pinpoint why. In this article it’s all about serial killers of African origin that killed in the United States.
Black Serial Killers vs White Serial Killers
If we were to ask you to describe the image that pops into your head when we say “typical serial killer” then you’ll probably describing a middle-aged white male, a loner and someone with an average to high IQ (this is a fallacy, as the average serial killer does not have a high IQ).
This stereotype exists for a reason, because that profile has fit for the most well known serial killers over the years. If you combine all US serial killers into racial groups then more than 50% are white; and if you segment by decade then white serial killers were the most dominant throughout much of the 21st century.
However, in the 1980s there was a shift. This was the first decade in which white serial killers only just had more than half of the share. What’s more, in the 1990s there were more black serial killers than white ones, a trend that continued into the 2000s and the 2010s. In fact, throughout these decades the number of white serial killers was been on the decline, while black serial killers have been on the increase.
In the 2000s, just 32% of US serial killers were white, while 54% were black and 11% were hispanic. So, while the combined stats suggest that the most common profile is a white male, if you focus on recent decades then that profile begins to shift.
Who Are The Black Serial Killers?
So, just who are the black serial killers causing a dramatic shift in these numbers? Well, one of the most prolific in recent years is the Grim Sleeper, a man who was convicted of killing ten women but may have killed a great deal more. He committed his crimes in a poor area of Los Angeles and many have suggested that his victims were overlooked because of their status and even their race.
Whatever the reason, Lonnie David Franklin Jr., the man behind the moniker, evaded the law for 14 years, even though many alarm bells were raised in that time. He was eventually sentenced to death and will go down as one of the most prolific black serial killers, but he’s far from the only one.
Other Modern Black Serial Killers
The 1970s was one of the worst decades for the United States as far as serial killers are concerned. This was a decade in which Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, the Zodiac Killer and many other notorious serial killers were active. Most of these were white, but a gang of black men were also active during this decade.
They became known as the Zebra Killers because of a term used on the police radio. They targeted white men in San Francisco and are said to have shot at least a dozen of them. There were four black serial killers involved with these crimes and all of them were sentenced to life in prison for their crimes.
Andrew Crawford did things a little differently and in many ways was similar to Jeffrey Dahmer. He was active in the Chicago and Englewood area, which is why he earned the not-so-creative moniker “The Chicago and Englewood Area Serial Killer” (the tabloids were clearly having an off-day). Crawford targeted drug addicts and prostitutes, a popular prey for serial killers the world over.
He would strangle, stab or beat them to death, smoke crack with their bodies and then drag them to abandoned buildings where he had sex with them. Anthony Sowell also targeted women that were down on their luck. In 2009, he was arrested for rape, at which point officers searched his house and discovered close to a dozen dead women in the grounds.
Black Serial Killers in Africa
South Africa has one of the highest numbers of serial killers in the world. This country has had a troubled past and like the United States it is a mixture of races and cultures. Unlike the United States, the policing can be a little lax and in the past it hasn’t been difficult for serial killers to go undetected for great lengths of time.
That’s how killers like Moses Sithole were able to terrorize the country for many years. Sithole is said to have killed 38 women and to have raped 40. It took a specially assigned task force before the man known as The ABC Killer was eventually stopped and imprisoned in 1995. Most of Sithole’s crimes occurred within a single year, a feat that was replicated by Jack Mogale in 2008/2009, when he pretended to be a preacher to lure young girls to their death.
One of the most well known serial killers in South Africa is Gert van Rooyen, who is white, while Louis van Schoor, a white shooter known as The Apartheid Killer, is also one of the most notorious. There are many more black serial killers than white ones in South Africa, but there are also ten times more black people than white people in the country.
Cultural Impact: Black Serial Killers vs White Serial Killers
To say that there are no black serial killers is a little far fetched. There are definitely black serial killers and there always have been. This is an issue that the human race faces, it’s not one that is confined to a single race. There are certainly some connections that can be made and some areas where you will find more serial killer than others.
For instance, the United States seems to be a breeding ground for them, and you will also find a disproportionally large number in the UK when compared to its population. However, these two countries both cover serial killers extensively in the media, giving them an almost cult status. There are people who obsess over them, people who write to them when they are on death row and even people who will try to marry them or have conjugal visits with them.
This is a cultural thing, it’s something that has been created by the media, but something that clearly targets those who are perhaps not mentally stable to begin with (after all, how mentally stable can you be to base your adoration for someone purely on the fact that they have raped, butchered and defiled dozens of people?).
We also know that there are far more male serial killers than female serial killers, which is likely caused by a mix of culture and by mental illness, sexual urges and testosterone. These descriptors are stereotypical, but they are rooted in truth and they have explanations.
However, we do not believe it is true to suggest that a particular race is more prone to producing serial killers than another and that one race is somehow more predisposed to the “serial killer gene”. There may certainly be some cultural aspects that help to swing the numbers one way or another, but on the whole, we’re all human, we’re all a product of our sex and our upbringing, and while it’s interesting to note the differences between black serial killers and white serial killers, we sincerity hope this will not be used as the context for a racist argument one way or the other.