The Heyday of Serial Killers


I was listening to a podcast that said the 1970s were the heyday for being a serial killer and it would never be easier than that era to get away with it. I’m not sure that’s true. I was trying to think of all the unsolved serial killer crimes from the 1970s and I didn’t come up with many. I’m sure there are some I didn’t think of (Zodiac, the Doodler, etc).

I wonder about this, because I think of killers like Sam Little and Israel Keyes, and think they were caught mostly because they got cocky and took extra risks. And LISK still hasn’t been caught, nor has the Colonial Parkway killer. Plus, I then begin to think about all the theoretical serial killers that are probably out there.

Despite advances in technology and the amazing capture of killers like the Golden State Killer, I kind of think, it might be easier to get away as a serial killer today. Why? Killers have learned. I know that sounds weird, but as I write these words, I think about what I’m doing. I’m educating my blog readers about serial killers, mass murderers, and spree killers. In October, I’ll start educating them about female killers. But it’s easy for me to get this information. How easy would it be for a killer to get it?

Especially knowing that most serial killers score on a slightly above average side of intelligence. We didn’t even realize Israel Keyes was a serial killer until he began confessing. Same with Sam Little; even though Little had a lengthy criminal record for sexual assault.

We still have a lot of the problems today that we had in the 1970s. Police departments still don’t share information well. There isn’t a national database for murders, although there is supposed to be. And we still underestimate the ability of a killer to change their MO. As the police and general public learns more and understands more, so do our killers.

Think about the research mass murderers and school shooters do before they carry out their crimes. Now, imagine a serial killer doing that same thing. It’s not a compulsion; they can control it enough to start and stop, to adapt, to change, to blend in. Any Joe Blow in Idaho with a desire to learn about how to get away with murder, is just a few Google searches away from figuring out, if you don’t sexually assault your victims, if you move around, and if you don’t stick to a specific type of victim, it’s harder to catch you. Also, if a killer changes their MO and doesn’t use a signature, then they can be damn near impossible to detect. And we’ve learned signatures are not necessary for every serial killer. Only a few seem to compulsively sign their kills.

Therefore, why shouldn’t they research? Israel Keyes admitted he’d learned to leave murder kits in places that made them easily accessible, so he wouldn’t be caught driving around with one, like Bundy was. Now, I don’t believe a lot of what Keyes said before killing himself, but some of it, is certainly real and I feel this was one of them.

In conclusion, I think these things do make it easier to be a serial killer today than forty years ago. I also think we will see more Sam Little’s, killers that may kill for a long time without ever being detected.

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