The fascination with serial killers stems partly from a desire to understand why anyone would do such horrible things to people who are generally strangers to them. Humans naturally try to make sense of and understand their world, but serial killers defy our logical understanding of motivation. But did you know how many famous serial killers were lurking in 1974?
There were at least five active serial killers in 1974, including the BTK Killer, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. 1974 is famously dubbed as the “Year of the Fear” thanks to the infamous serial killers.
What was it About 1974?
It makes perfect sense that this epoch produced a swarm of criminals. While the country was focused on the Vietnam War, the nuclear arms race, and the Watergate Scandal, no one noticed that crime increased.
Watergate was bringing down President Richard Nixon’s administration. Even though the daughter of multi-millionaire Randolph Apperson Hearst was kidnapped this year, most Americans were unaware that the country’s crime rate was rising.
At the time, the BAU had no idea how devastating a year 1974 would turn out to be. Some of the most brilliant and prolific serial killers would launch their destructive careers at that time. But it would be decades before they were all brought to justiceJim Clemente, Retired FBI Special Agent
While FBI agents were putting together their various puzzles, the elusive Bundy would murder up to 36 people over the next four years.
Rader was not killed until 1991. Gacy would not be apprehended until late 1978. Watts’ heinous spree lasted more than eight years. The attractive Knowles was on a collision course with disaster. His murder spree ended after five months when he was shot dead by a police officer.
However, the FBI was aware of the murderous score and kept the information quiet, fearful of causing public panic. (Source: Washington Examiner)
Have We Simply Gotten Better at Catching Serial Killers?
In recent years, the number of serial killers in the United States has significantly decreased. According to Radford University psychology professor Mike Aamodt, approximately 30 active serial killers in 2015.
In addition, we’re no longer hitchhiking, the summer of love is over, we’re always on our phones with the police just a few taps away, we carry keys to use as weapons, and our streets are better lit. With the advancements in CCTV and DNA technology, it is much more challenging to get away with murder.
So, are we now at the point where we can enjoy murder as entertainment? The media appears to believe so, with networks dumping crime shows into our laps at a rate faster than we can keep up.
Mindhunter, Big Little Lies, and Sharp Objects are just a few examples of dramatizations of who did it. Numerous podcasts, such as My Favorite Murder, Someone Knows Something, and Casefile, delve into the graphic details of murder cases with a theatrical twist. (Source: Washington Examiner)