Why is serial killing no longer en vogue?

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/16/why-is-serial-killing-no-longer-en-vogue.html


Maybe would-be serial killers are scared that improvements in police technology and DNA forensics mean they’re more likely to get caught.

Someone with more time than me today, could probably draw a really nicely correlated graph of serial killers vs. aired episodes of Law & order


Surely, given the sexual component in either the childhoods or the crimes of so many serial killers, the rise of easy access to online porn should be investigated as a hypothesis?

At the very least, it seems no less likely than people, with seemingly significant impulse control issues, carefully reevaluating the statistical risk profile of their potential crimes given reported improvements in forensic science.


i think maybe it’s ALL of those things, and probably more.


I bet it is a mixture of things:

  1. People are more paranoid/careful.

  2. Way better forensic evidence, and everyone basically carrying a tracking device on them at all times.

  3. Mass shootings the new hotness? People killing for notoriety get way more bang for the buck with a single mass shooting, vs individual killings that can take years to be connected.

  4. The internet IS an outlet for the depraved. It is totally possible people are acting out their sick fantasies online and it thus isn’t manifesting into real world violence.

  5. But I think the most likely answer is people are just lazy now-a-days and don’t want to put in the hard work that it takes to become a serial killer. /s

6) Reduced environmental lead most likely the reason for a general reduction in violent crimes and murders in general.


I think this is one of those things we shouldn’t try too hard to bring back.


I think we can rule this out.

You can maybe make the argument that medicine has made strides in understanding and treating mental illness, but access to psychiatric treatment has improved very little.


I love when many theories are probably true.


Maybe it correlates with age like with other violent crimes?

Serial killing has been done to death, dah-ling.


Maybe the decline in use of lead (in paint and gasoline) which has been correlated pretty reliably with the overall decline in violent crime since the early 90s?


Right? We traded targeted crimes of opportunity, for random gunfire into a crowd, or driving a car into protestors.

The body count has got to be higher if you factor in the mass attacks.


Are the serial killer numbers taking into account the ones wearing a badge? That may skew the results quite a bit higher.


A forensic pathologist friend always said that he strongly suspects that there always have been more than we know of, so maybe it could just be inaccurate data and we’re in a moment where the innacuracy has swung unusually far. And the recent decline could be killers catching up in the game of cat and mouse so as to better avoid their victims being identified as the victim of a serial killer.

I dunno, just doesn’t seem to be the sort of year to see good news like this so there must be some other explanation.


I haven’t read the article, but is one of the hypotheses that there actually isn’t a meaningful decline, but the killers have evolved to targeting populations who society and law enforcement simply don’t care enough about to investigate, thereby leaving the patterns undiscovered?


maybe they are getting caught before they can serialize


I’m not sure if that’s what happened. From what I’ve seen in recent years, some of those vulnerable communities are sick and tired of being ignored when they’re targetted by a serial killer and are now demanding action from law enforcement.

My own guess, in addition to the others, is that the serial killers still out there are a lot more careful and that ones still active don’t limit themselves to certain kinds of victims in the way earlier ones often did.


Or politics?


This is something I’ve (finally!) noticed news outlets catching onto lately. Instead of publishing the killer’s names and every single detail of their murder fantasy preparation ad nauseam, they are talking much more about the victims and survivors. I imagine this is having a positive impact on copycat killers, white supremacist recruitment and police violence.


Maybe all of that ‘stranger danger’ training is finally seeping in? Or having 24 hrs x eleventy-billion stations/streams of crime drama has saturated the market brain (Criminal Minds, I’m totally serial!)

Also seems to be a decline in plane hijacking and car hijacking.

Vacuum filled by hate crimes.