In “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” Netflix follows the footsteps of serial killer Ted Bundy, both before and after his crimes. At one point in the series, Bundy’s murders are shown on a map, demonstrating Bundy’s movements across the country. In addition, the victims’ names, faces and locations are shown in chronological order, alongside those who Bundy confessed to killing, but whose names are unknown.
Geographic profiling is a forensic technique that examines the locations of a series of crimes to determine the location of the criminal. The technique relies on the idea that a criminal will commit crimes outside of the neighborhoods that they live in, but close enough to allow for a quick escape. The theory also states that murderers must know the area to be able to successfully commit their crimes. Bundy’s murders demonstrate the exact opposite to this theory, which is a basis for a common method of investigation.
This project would examine the paths of several prominent serial killers in order to explore whether geographic profiling is an accurate method of investigation. Furthermore, it would provide a look into the psych of serial killers. Questions to ask are: Do murderers feel comfortable committing crimes in the area that they live? Is having a home base necessary to commit a crime? Does escaping from an area or state allow murderers to evade conviction?
In the case of Ted Bundy, travelling from state to state prevented investigators from tying crimes to him, in part due to police officers’ lack of communication. Although he faced charges in Colorado, during his escape from prison, he committed three more murders in Florida. Even then, Florida officers did not think of Bundy as a suspect until the time he was found.
Audience: For this project, the audience would be forensic scientists, psychologists and historians.
Existing Projects: Texas State University has a similar project examining crimes committed to Jack the Ripper. On their site, researchers provide a map of the murders. Unlike this project, I hope that mine will follow several killers on an interactive site.
Plan for Outreach and Publicity: This project could be shared by researchers and forensic scientists in the field. Additionally, social media, such as Twitter, could be used the share the final project, especially due to public interest in serial killers.
Evaluation Plan: Success of this project would be based on how possible it is to find and spread information. Finding the specific location of murders, as well as whether they are confirmed to be tied to a certain killer may be difficult. Furthermore, the project may overlook crimes that may have been committed by an individual, but never successfully attributed to them. However, once this information is found and presented as best as possible, success would be measured by the number of clicks and amount of time individuals spend interacting with the map.