Looking at the most-streamed movies or television shows on any given streaming service, it would be easy to assume that serial killers lurk behind every corner. The stories of Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy and the Boston Strangler still loom large––even if the likelihood that you’ll encounter another Zodiac Killer has never been lower.
Since the 1970s and 1980s, a high activity period for serial murderers, the numbers have dropped significantly. Numbers peaked in the 1970s when there were nearly 300 known active serial killers in the U.S. In the 1980s, there were more than 250 active killers who accounted for between 120 and 180 deaths per year. By the time the 2010s rolled around there were fewer than 50 known active killers.