Analysis of Fatal Stabbing Videos

I’ve been recently reading literature and writing blog entries on stabbings (see here, here and here) and that brought me to watching videos of stabbings via Kaotic. I did a semi-scientific analysis of the videos, recording for each of the 31 videos (all of which showed an entire stabbing incident from start to collapse of the victim) the number of stab wounds, location of the initial stab wound, time to limited motor function in the victim and time to collapse. I used this rough guide to determine the respective times to the best of my abilities:

Limited Motor FunctionIf standing: Victim becomes shaky on his legs, starts making awkward and uncoordinated steps

If on the ground: Defensive motions become weak and less coordinated
CollapseIf standing: Victim falls to the ground and does not get back up

If on the ground: Defensive motions cease
  • Time to Motor Function Limitation

Victims showed obvious signs of motor function limitations in the range of 4 to 49 seconds after the initial stab wound, with the median being 15 seconds.

  • Time to Collapse

The time to collapse ranged from 6 to 80 seconds after the initial stab wound, with a median of 21 seconds.

  • Time between Motor Function Limitations and Collapse

It took 1 to 15 seconds (with one outlier at 50 seconds) from the first obvious signs of motor problems to collapse, with the median being 5 seconds. Once a victim becomes shaky / weak from the bleeding, a cessation of defensive motions and full collapse within a relatively short time is practically guaranteed.

  • Number of Stab Wounds

The observed number of stab wounds seems to agree quite well with the literature. In one out of three stabbings there was only one stab wound. In one out of two cases the stabbing was limited 1 or 2 stab wounds. In about 15 % of the cases the number of stab wounds exceeded 10. One outlier showed a number of 35 stab wounds, inflicted by two male perpetrators in a gang-style-stabbing on a male victim in a frequented alley in India. The median number of stab wounds was 3.

  • Number of Stab Wounds Within the First Five Seconds

The number of stab wounds within the first five seconds of the initial stab ranged from 1 to 9, with a median of 2. So the highest observed frequency was about 2 stab wounds per second, maintained for a full five seconds. This was however with two perpetrators. The highest stabbing frequency with one perpetrator was about 1.5 stab wounds per second.

  • Location of Initial Stab Wound

In about half of the cases the chest was the initial target. In one out of three cases it was the stomach. Taken together, these two locations were the first target in roughly four out of five cases. Though rarer, the back was also a somewhat common target for the first stab, seen in about one out of six of cases. In only one out of the 23 cases (8 cases were missing as the location of the initial stab was not clearly visible) did the perpetrator go immediately for the neck. This does not mean that neck wounds are uncommon, many stabbings did feature them, but perpetrators usually go for center mass first and then, when the victim is partially immobilized, for the neck.

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