Okay, so before we begin, let’s clarify a few things. You’ll notice this list skews heavily towards countries that are pretty wealthy and developed. Why is that? Well, this list isn’t about countries with the most murders per capita. It’s a list that outlines countries with the most serial killers. So what’s the deal? Why do some of these countries have an abundance of serial murderers? The reality is that wealthier countries tend to have better processes for documenting these types of things. There’s also the fact that in wealthier countries, law enforcement and the justice system are more sophisticated and developed. So, which countries have the greatest number of documented serial killers? Read on to find out. You might be surprised at the countries that made the list. In no particular order, by the way.
Above are alleged victims of the infamous Jack the Ripper who terrorized the streets of London at the turn of the 20th century. Jack roamed the streets of East London leaving brutally murdered sex workers in his wake. He was never identified but there are plenty of British serial killers who have been. According to NationMaster.com, the 2009 murder rate for the United Kingdom (which includes England), was 712 persons. That doesn’t necessarily mean all of them were committed by serial killers, though. Still, England alone has produced upward of 140 serial killers. In terms of serial killers, only the United States is statistically ahead.
In terms of murder, Brazil tops the charts. In 2010, a total of 40,974 people were murdered in the South American country. Brazil also has a large number of violent crimes that are committed by those under 18 years of age. Brazil has had its share of serial killers, too. Active in the ’90s, the killer dubbed The Park Maniac, would be tied to the death of over 10 women. Another serial murderer and also a nurse, Edson Isidoro Guimarães was eventually tied to the deaths of four patients but it’s quite possible that he killed many more, some suspect the number could be in the triple digits.
Do you know of the infamous Monster of Florence? The above is a crime scene photograph of one of his victims. It seems Italians have a propensity for calling their serial murderers ‘monsters’, and they’re not wrong. In the late ’90s, Donato Bilancia murdered more than 15 people, he was also known as the ‘Monster of Liguria’. And these two are not the only known Italian serial killers. Overall, Italy has a fairly high crime rate. In 2010, the country had a total of 529 murders. Many Italians have little confidence when it comes to law enforcement, and with such a high crime rate, can you blame them?
It’s hard to imagine Japan having a high rate of serial killers. I have this, admittedly stereotypical, image of Japanese society where people are ambitious almost to a fault, and discipline is of the utmost importance. Is there really room for serial murder in that mix? Turns out the answer is yes. Japan has, sadly, had to deal with a great deal of serial murder cases. One such killer, known as ‘The Girl Murderer’, even cannibalized one of his pre-school aged victims. It makes sense, though, that some serial killers would pop up considering Japan’s high population. Japan actually still has the death penalty, and the murderer mentioned above was executed in 2008.
Russia has a fairly high overall murder rate with a shocking alleged 14, 574 murders in 2010. That’s astonishingly high. But what about serial killers? Russians definitely have their fair share of serial murderer stories to tell. There are Russian serial killers who resemble Jack the Ripper, there are so-called Russian angels of death, there are Russian child killers, and even a cannibal murderer nicknamed ‘The Alligator’. The above photo is a snapshot of the knives used by Andrei Chikatilo. He killed a large number of both women and children using those knives. He was executed in the early months of 1994.
Just because Australians have super sexy accents doesn’t mean they can’t be evil murderers. With strict gun laws, Australia’s overall murder rate is pretty low, but the country has still had its share of serial killers. Again, keep in mind that countries like Australia are more likely to catch perpetrators and are more likely to link multiple murders to one single suspect. But the country down-under still has its share of unsolved murders as well. One case, in particular, the Claremont murders, committed in the ’90s has never been solved. In addition, one murder case, recently profiled by the podcast ‘The Australian’, involved the killings of several Aboriginal children.
There’s something extremely creepy about letting a convicted serial killer re-enact their murders for the camera. Sure, it’s a way to document evidence and find out whether the person in question committed other atrocious acts, but that doesn’t lower the creep factor. I imagine these sick individuals get some kind of pleasure from recalling specific details and acting them out again like some kind of gross fantasy. The killer in the photographs above is Bogdan Arnold. It’s tough to find detailed information on the Polish murderer since it tends to all be written in Polish. What I do know is that those photos give me the chills.
Guys, that’s a head in a jar. A freaking HEAD. The creepiest part is those black eyes that seem to stare right into your soul. I’m always skeptical when it comes to murders prosecuted before the advent of modern day techniques for solving crimes. There is something strange about the fact that people who are billed as the most prolific murderers seem to date back to before the 1900s. Maybe it was just that much easier to get away with killing. Or maybe, a lot of people needlessly got their heads plopped in a jar. Spain has its fair share of serial killers although Diogo Alves actually moved to Portugal when he was younger, so that kind of makes him a Portuguese serial killer, too.
In 2010, Turkey reportedly saw a total of 2,320 people murdered. The country doesn’t top the list for total number of serial killers, but it still has had its share of monstrous murderers. One killer got the nickname ‘Nailing Killer’ for reasons you might have already guessed. He would nail his victims in their head. Another Turkish serial killer, called ‘The Beast of Artvin’ preyed on older women. He was supposed to be put to death but managed to avoid execution when Turkey got rid of the death penalty. They abolished the death penalty in 2004, and ‘The Beast’ sits in prison serving his now life sentence.
11. South Africa
South Africa has had a very large proportion of serial killers compared to other countries. In turns out that many of the recorded serial killers in South Africa, tend to lure their intended victims because they lack the transportation to get them to their desired location. One South African criminologist explained that although the country has seen a lot of serial killers, there has also been “a 100 percent conviction rate”. If it’s true, that’s extremely impressive. No wonder their numbers are high, they end up catching all of them! Unfortunately, this is not always the case with victims, a significant percentage remain Jane or John Does.
Seriously, what’s going on in that above photo? Are those two men playing some weird game? Actually, no. The man above, dragging what seems to be a body, is Jozef Slovák. Except, Slovák’s victims were female so what’s with the male body? Hmmm…if I had to guess, I’d say he was another killer reenacting his crimes. He would murder women in forested areas and, from what I can gather from crudely translated sources, it seems Slovák also took the shoes off his victims. Slovakia has a fairly low murder rate of 15.5 murders per 1 million (statistic is from 2009).
You’re probably familiar with Mexico’s reputation for drug-related violence. The country has one of the highest murder rates, close behind Brazil. In 2010, an apparent total of 25,757 people were murdered. But what about serial murderers? Yep. Mexico has a long list of those. Of course, no country high up on the list of serial killers would be complete without a copycat Jack the Ripper. ‘Mexican Jack’ was the nickname of such a killer who committed his crimes in the ’60s. Another Mexican serial killer, dubbed ‘El Gato Imperial’, targeted gay men in Mexico’s capital. Mexico also has a string of unsolved murders of women in Juárez, possibly linked to gang violence, but these kills may also be the work of a potential serial killer.
8. Czech Republic
My gosh, can we please stop it with the re-enactments!? And this time, it’s done on an actual woman. I bet Jiří Straka got his rocks off when performing this task for the police. Straka committed his murders when he was only sixteen! Crime scene photographs reveal that the victims were often completely nude when they were left, and splayed out on the ground without a care, often with their genitalia exposed. At some point, Straka ended up getting sent to a mental hospital instead of prison. He was also sterilized and while institutionalized apparently became an Evangelical Christian and, more interestingly, a baker (or what seems to be referred to as such, considering the crude translation).
Those are some fancy scissors! They look expensive. The wielder of those knives, Peter Kürten, also had the nickname of the ‘Vampire of Düsseldorf’. He was active in the early 20th century. Germany has a fairly low level of violent crimes. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a high incidence of recorded serial killings. Likely because of highly sophisticated investigative techniques, Germany has the ability to track down such menaces to society. Did you know there’s no speed limit on the Germany Autobahn? Maybe that’s what allowed Volker Eckert, to easily go around murdering sex workers in three different European countries. Eckert died by his own hand while being held by police.
The man in the photo above is Luis Garavito. Of course, Colombia is well-known for its high rate of crime and high incidence of murder. It’s easy to shrug off that violence as gang and drug related, but the country has had incidences of serial murders. Garavito was nicknamed ‘The Beast’ and has a shockingly high victim toll. Some estimate the number of Garavito’s victim to be as high as 192. He targeted young boys and would rape then stab them to death. Despite his numerous heinous crimes, because he helped with locating the bodies of his victims, a chunk of time was lobbed off his sentence much to the contention of the Colombian people.
By some accounts, China actually boasts of the earliest incidences of serial murder. Liu Pengli, a prince from the Han Dynasty, would murder people for fun. But China has plenty of modern serial killers as well. With a murder rate, from 2010, of 10.02 murders per one million people, China doesn’t necessarily sit at the top of the list, but there’s some difficulty in pinpointing the exact – and accurate – numbers considering China’s status as a Communist country. Some of the country’s modern serial murderers include Huang Yong, who, in the early 2000s, murdered more than 15 male teens. Most, if not all, of China’s convicted serial killers have been executed.
Oh, Canada. My native land. I know that a lot of people see Canada as the land of politeness and kindness. Even Canadians themselves have strong feelings about the country’s reputation for being full of nice folks. Sure, we’ve got plenty of nice people here, but really that’s just a stereotype. There are plenty of kind people everywhere. There are also plenty of horrible people in all corners of the world. Canada has one of the highest number of known serial killers including the infamous ‘Scarborough Rapist’ Paul Bernardo and more recently the young British Colombian serial killer Cody Legebokoff.
Honestly, how could a country that’s known for its wine, cheese, and baguettes have such a high incidence of serial killers? If I was eating French food all the time, I’d feel pretty content with life. But yeah, France has quite a few documented cases of serial killings in its history. All of them have such French sounding names that its hard to picture them as killing with anything other than a very stale baguette. I’m only joking, of course. One French serial killer targeted the elderly, and in particular old women. Another serial killer, nicknamed ‘The Beast of the Bastille’ – seriously, SO French – committed several murders throughout the ’90s.
India, like Japan, has a very large population so it’s statistically probable that it will have more serial killers than other countries. The country has more than 50 documented serial killer cases. The above dude? His name is Thug Behram. It’s thought that he killed more than 900 people. That’s a lot, but he was probably bragging. Another one of India’s infamous serial killers was Auto Shankar who targeted teen girls during the late ’80s. Killer Akku Yadav got his just desserts for his multiple murders. A large group of women lynched Yadav executing their own form of vigilante justice.
1. United States
And finally, the United States of America. I didn’t list any of these countries in any kind of order but the United States has definitely earned its place at the top of the list. That’s not to say that its high incidence of serial killers says anything specific about the American psyche. Maybe U.S. law enforcement is just really good at noticing murder patterns. Either way, the United States has been home to some of the most prolific, and infamous serial killers of the modern era. Murderers like Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, and Jeffrey Dhamer are instantly recognizable. It’s a wonder that some parents still name their children by these names. One source cites the number of U.S. serial killers as 2,743. That’s a terrifying statistic to be sure. If the U.S. is so highly capable of identifying serial murders and catching perpetrators, what about the countries who are behind when it comes to criminology? Kind of makes you wonder how many serial killers are out and about around the world, doesn’t it?
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