Crime time

Why are people so interested in true crime?

True crime has been popular since the 1970s, when the first American serial killer, Herman Mudgett (H.H. Holmes) was named. Since then, many people have followed true crime. From documentaries to podcasts and people sending killers explicit images and love letters, society has become infatuated with true crime.

“I love [true crime],” senior Madison Moore said. “Whenever we go on family road trips, we listen to podcasts for six hours straight about true crime. I think it’s really interesting to hear the stories and how messed up some of them are”.

According to an article posted by Mental Floss, titled – ‘12 Reasons We Love True Crime, According to the experts‘ people enjoy crime because they are infatuated with the difference between good and evil. Many are driven to try and understand why people are willing to commit horrific acts and what makes others tick.

Senior Anna Lavan shared a similar interest. 

“[True crime is] very interesting and scary and intense,” Lavan said. “The fact that it’s not actually happening to me makes it interesting. Shows and podcasts really try to make [crimes] more dramatic than [they were].” 

While people find true crime interesting, there are ethical considerations people need to be taking about true crime as well. 

“ [tTrue crime focuses on drama] instead of how it affected the people involved, which isn’t the best for the people involved and people need to consider that,” Lavan said.

According to an article by The Cleveland Clinic about true crime, watching true crime can make you more vigilant and aware, but it could eventually cause you to be too afraid to leave the house. People need to be aware of their reactions and how things are impacting them.

“[People enjoy true crime because] it’s not a very talked about thing in society,” Moore said. “So it is very interesting, because it just blows people’s minds watching true crime because of how crazy [some of the] situations are. In some ways it is very hard to see the line between information and [the] glamorising [of] serial killers. There are so many cases of people imitating serial killers [for fame].”

According to Right as Rain, a website created by UW medicine,  people seem to enjoy true crime because they can experience challenging emotions whilst being in the comfort of their own homes.

AP Government and Psychology teacher Mr. Kevin Phillips agrees. 

“A big part of the fascination about [true] crime is [the] serial killers and what motivates them and why they do what they do,” Mr. Philips said. “There is an aspect of people wanting to experience the thrill of things without actually experiencing it.”

Some of the most popular true crime shows and podcasts include ‘Serial’ by Sarah Koening following one case each season, ‘Criminal’ by Phoebe Judge, telling the stories of people who have done bad things, ‘The Night Stalker’, looking into a series of murders in Los Angeles in 1985 and ‘Extremely Wicked; Shockingly Evil and Vile’ by Joe Berlinger, following the story of Ted Bundy.


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