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Number of serial killers out there as elusive as killers themselves
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UNDATED Experts say its hard to tell how many serial killers may be operating in the United States.

Jack Levin, who studies violence at Boston's Northeastern University, estimates conservatively that there are about 20 serial killers nationwide, accounting for about 200 victims a year. Ann Rule, a true-crime author and serial killer expert from Seattle, figures there are about 300 such predators lurking as she put it, "just below our level of awareness."

A few years ago, the F-B-I estimated that anywhere from 20 to 50 were prowling the country. But the bureau has since backed away from trying to quantify the threat.

Last week's arrest of Dennis Rader shows that its hard to spot a serial killer. He was a code enforcement officer in Wichita, and a former Cub Scout troop leader. He's accused of at least ten "Bind, Torture, Kill" killings over several decades.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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