Dr. Branson Featured on Podcast About Stereotypes in Profiling Serial Murderers

By Caitlin Burns | May 3, 2021

By Kathrine Haines ’21

Dr. Allan Branson, adjunct professor of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, was featured on a March episode of The Reporter’s Notebook podcast, “Storm Tracking.” Host Gary Anderson interviewed Dr. Branson for the investigative true-crime podcast focusing on the stereotypes associated with profiling and how that impacts who is considered by law enforcement and detectives when trying to catch serial murderers. 

New research reveals the bias behind original profiling and how it affected cold cases. Only more recently have law enforcement begun to change their thinking to understand that everybody is a potential suspect until proven otherwise. Anderson stated that they struggled to decide whether to even discuss race in the podcast or point out the races of serial killers, but Dr. Branson and other experts convinced them of why it should have and continues to matter.

“If you are saying that only certain people commit certain crimes, first of all, it’s false, and it’s a dangerous paradigm to create for law enforcement,” said Dr. Branson. “It makes absolutely no sense. As an African American law enforcement agent, I could see the number of deaths that occur in African American communities and the community at large. So, you’re willing to portray African Americans as these senseless killers who might stick up a 7-Eleven, but somehow serial killing is just a line they won’t cross?”

Dr. Branson teaches the Criminal Justice course Serial Killers that focuses on exploring the historic phenomenon of serial murder through investigations of theoretical explanations for the behavior of serial killers and how serial murder is portrayed in the media.