In a slice of good news, serial killing sprees occur far less frequently than at their peak twenty years ago and no longer produce iconic American monsters along the lines of John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, or Ted Bundy, all of who seemed to personify people’s worst fears about society. (That said, to many, the horrific massacre in Tucson this past weekend symbolizes the escalation of violent political rhetoric.) Slate looks back at the “golden age of serial murderers”:
Serial killers just aren’t the sensation they used to be. They haven’t disappeared, of course. But the number of serial murders seems to be dwindling, as does the public’s fascination with them.
Statistics on serial murder are hard to come by—the FBI doesn’t keep numbers, according to a spokeswoman—but the data we do have suggests serial murders peaked in the 1980s and have been declining ever since.