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Have you ever wondered what true crime is and why it’s so popular?

A recent poll reported one in three Americans consumes true crime content at least once per week.

The true crime genre has been around for centuries and has recently seen a resurgence in popularity.

But what exactly is it, and why do we enjoy true crime so much?

Let’s look at the history of true crime and why it continues to captivate audiences to this very day.

What's True Crime

What Is True Crime?

True crime is a genre of literature, film, television, and podcast that deals with real criminal cases.

This could include anything from murder, fraud, theft, and more.

True crime can take many forms, whether it’s a documentary or a fictionalized adaptation based on real events.

It often focuses on the investigation and prosecution of these crimes but can also explore the psychological factors behind them as well.

The History of True Crime

The History of True Crime

You can’t answer what is true crime without looking at its history.

True crime dates back centuries, with some of the earliest examples of it appearing in the late 19th century.

These stories featured tales of famous criminals such as Jack the Ripper, who terrorized London during the 1880s.

Over time, these stories evolved into books and documentaries that brought attention to both criminal cases and wrongful convictions.

Today, true crime remains popular with books, movies, podcasts, television shows, and more, all dedicated to exploring this genre.

Types of True Crime

Types of True Crime

True crime is a popular genre that has captivated audiences for decades.

Whether you’re a casual reader of a true crime novel or an avid fan of true crime documentaries, there are many different types of true crime stories available to consume.

From cold cases to unsolved mysteries, each type offers something unique and intriguing to readers and viewers alike.

Cold Cases

1. Cold Cases

Cold cases are unsolved criminal cases that have gone cold due to a lack of evidence or leads.

These cases can span years and even decades before being solved, if at all.

As mentioned previously, one of the most famous cold cases in history was the case of Jack the Ripper.

He was believed to have murdered at least five women in London in 1888.

Although the case remains unsolved, it continues to fascinate people from all over the world.

Unsolved Mysteries

2. Unsolved Mysteries

Another popular type of true crime story is unsolved mysteries.

These are crimes where there is no suspect or any information on who might be responsible for committing the crime.

Unsolved mysteries often become legends as they pass through generations, with different theories arising about what happened and why.

One example is the disappearance of Amelia Earhart in 1937 while she was attempting to circumnavigate the globe by plane.

Her remains have still not been found to this very day.

Serial Killers

3. Serial Killers

Serial killers are perhaps one of the most notorious types of true crime stories as they involve multiple victims and often span years before being caught by law enforcement officials.

Monsters such as Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy have become infamous for their heinous crimes, despite often covering up their tracks for a number of years beforehand.

As such, these stories follow a more personal trajectory as more details about how these criminals operated come to light over time – making them some of the most riveting tales in true crime literature today.

Detective Stories

4. Detective Stories

Finally, detective stories tell tales of investigators who go above and beyond in order to solve complex cases – often against all odds.

Viewing these stories can give us insight into the inner workings of law enforcement and how they manage investigations from start to finish.

It can also help us appreciate the dedication and hard work that goes into such investigations.

Furthermore, it shows the importance of having an experienced team on your side when solving complex mysteries like these ones!

Ways To Consume True Crime

Ways To Consume True Crime

There are numerous ways to consume true crime content.

This includes reading books, watching tv, listening to podcasts, and engaging in online communities.

It’s important to remember that while true crime can be fascinating, you should approach the subject matter with sensitivity and respect for the victims and their families.


1. Podcasts

True crime podcasts are an increasing trend, with 44 percent of podcast users having listened to a true crime podcast.

As a result, more and more true crime podcasts are being made.

From unsolved mysteries to grisly murders, there are podcasts that explore every aspect of true crime.

Serial is one of the best true crime podcasts you can listen to today.

It follows journalist Sarah Koenig as she investigates a real-life murder case from 1999 involving Adnan Syed.

Serial dives deep into the evidence, witnesses, and all other aspects related to the case and helps bring it back to life in an engaging way.

This podcast has been downloaded hundreds of millions of times, making it one of the most successful podcasts ever.


2. Documentaries

True crime documentaries have a unique and captivating appeal that draws viewers in, giving them an opportunity to explore the details of some of the world’s most notorious cases.

From murder mysteries to twisted tales of deception, true crime documentaries offer an inside look at some of the most remarkable (and sometimes shocking) real-life events.

With the introduction of streaming services such as Netflix and their growing increase in popularity, more and more true crime documentaries are being produced.

One of the most noteworthy documentaries is The Thin Blue Line, directed by Errol Morris.

Other influential true crime documentaries include Making a Murderer, The Jinx, and The Keepers.


3. Shows

Just like true crime documentaries, true crime shows are being produced more and more with the increase in the popularity of streaming services.

Studies show that people often get an adrenaline rush while watching true crime shows.

This is because they feel like they are part of the investigation process and can help crack the case.

One of the most popular true crime shows ever released was DAHMER: Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.

856,270,000 hours of this show were watched worldwide, within the first 28 days of its release.


4. Books

Books are the oldest form in the true crime genre, with Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (1966) widely viewed as the first and one of the best true crime novels.

True crime books are nonfiction works that focus on real criminal cases and explore not just the crime itself but also its impact on the victim, perpetrator, and society as a whole.

Usually written from a narrative point of view, these books often offer readers insights into criminals’ motivations and activities leading up to their arrest.

They may also include interviews with law enforcement personnel involved in the case, victims, and even family members of those responsible for the crimes.

True crime books provide readers with an exciting glimpse into another world – a world where justice is served one page at a time.

It can be fascinating to learn about different types of criminal behaviour, particularly if it’s something you would never encounter in your own life.

These stories can also spark conversations about current events and social issues such as poverty, racism, mental health awareness, etc.

For some readers, true crime books provide a sense of closure or vindication since they get to follow along with the investigation from start to finish.

Even when there’s no happy ending in sight, these stories can still serve as cautionary tales that remind us to stay vigilant and aware of our surroundings at all times.


5. Movies

True crime movies, based on real events, can be both thrilling and disturbing.

From intense courtroom dramas to psychological thrillers, these types of films provide a unique look into some of the most notorious criminal cases in history.

Whether you’re a fan of true crime or just looking for something different, these movies offer viewers a chilling glimpse into the darker corners of humanity.

Why Is True Crime So Popular?

Why Is True Crime So Popular?

There are several reasons why true crime has become so popular in recent years.

1. True crime provides a glimpse into the dark side of human nature

It’s human nature to be curious about things that are taboo.

True crime provides a window into a world that most of us would never experience otherwise.

We’re fascinated by the motivations of criminals, the crimes they commit, and the police work that goes into solving them.

2. True crime often involves a strong narrative structure

True crime cases are like stories, with a beginning, middle, and end.

They often involve twists and turns, red herrings, and unexpected revelations.

True crime writers have become skilled at telling these stories in a compelling way, keeping the reader or viewer on the edge of their seat.

3. True crime is often seen as a form of escapism

People are drawn to the genre because it provides a distraction from the stresses of everyday life.

It allows them to immerse themselves in a world that is different from their own and to forget about their problems for a while.

4. True crime often raises important social and ethical issues

For example, the documentary “Making a Murderer” raised questions about the fairness of the criminal justice system in the United States.

The case of Adnan Syed, featured in the podcast “Serial,” raised questions about the reliability of witness testimony.

True crime can be a powerful tool for raising awareness about social issues and promoting change.

5. The rise of the internet and social media

There are now countless websites, podcasts, and YouTube channels dedicated to the genre.

Social media has also made it easier for fans to connect with each other and discuss their favorite cases.

The Positive Impacts of True Crime on Society

The Positive Impacts of True Crime on Society

While some may argue that true crime content is exploitative, there are also positive impacts that true crime entertainment has had on society.

This includes helping raise awareness, promoting justice, providing closure, inspiring change, and educating viewers about criminal justice issues.

Psychological Benefits Of True Crime

1. Psychological Benefits

It’s not just entertainment value that draws people towards true crime – there may be psychological benefits as well.

Studies have shown that people who are interested in true crime tend to be more empathetic than others.

They have an innate curiosity toward understanding human behavior and how individuals react under extreme circumstances.

Additionally, watching true crime can help some people make sense of tragedies that occur in their own lives.

This is done by providing catharsis through understanding how similar events have been handled by police or other professionals in similar situations.

Increased Awareness

2. Increased Awareness

Being aware of our surroundings is an important skill in today’s world, and consuming true crime media can help us hone this skill.

By watching or listening to stories about real-life crimes, we become more attuned to our environment and better able to spot potential threats.

This heightened awareness can be especially beneficial for women who want to increase their safety when walking alone at night or in unfamiliar places.

Civic Engagement

3. Civic Engagement

Engaging with true crime media can promote civic engagement by increasing our desire for justice in cases where it has been denied or delayed for too long.

When people become passionate about finding out what happened in a particular case, they’re more likely to get involved in reform.

This kind of activism is essential if we want to ensure that justice is served fairly across all levels of society.

True crime can also help to uncover justice for the victims and their families.

For example, in the documentary, The Jinx, Robert Durst confessed to the murder and was arrested as a result.

Criticism Towards True Crime

Criticism Towards True Crime

True crime has been around for centuries and has always had a certain level of controversy attached to it.

From its earliest days, true crime was often used as a way to sensationalize tragedy in order to make money or gain attention for a cause.

Today, technology such as television shows, podcasts, and social media has redefined the genre and made it accessible to wider audiences than ever before.

Unfortunately, this has also led to an increase in criticism of true crime stories.

One common critique is that true crime often focuses on victims who are marginalized or vulnerable in some way.

This usually includes women, people of color, and members of the LGBT community.

This can also cause people in those groups to become paranoid and concerned for their own safety.

Another major concern is that true crime stories can sometimes glamorize criminals or sensationalize their crimes.

This is obviously done in order to attract viewers/listeners/readers without considering the potential consequences for society at large.

Despite these potential negative impacts, there is no denying that true crime has become an important part of our cultural landscape.

It provides entertainment and escapism for millions of people and has the potential to raise important social and ethical issues.

As long as we approach the genre with sensitivity and respect for those involved, true crime can continue to play an important role in our society.

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