The allure of true crime


Artwork By: Kierstin Trowbridge

Taylor S. Fischbeck, Editor

True crime television shows and stories have always been alluring to people. Streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have plenty of true crime shows, showing us that people like true crime enough that streaming services are more than willing to put these shows on their service. Shows such as “The Jinx” (Hulu), “Dateline” (Hulu), “Making a Murderer” (Netflix), and “The Ted Bundy Tapes” (Netflix) all give us one emotion: fear. 

“As a source of popular culture entertainment, [true crime] allows us to experience fear and horror in a controlled environment where the threat is exciting but not real,” said criminology professor Scott Bonn in Time’s article Why We Are Drawn to True Crime Shows. People want to feel fear but they don’t want to be in danger and true crime sources give us that opportunity. 

However, there are people that watch true crime shows or listen to podcasts in an attempt to learn how someone’s mind works. “Personally, I like it because you can see there’s a lot of stuff going on in the world, including bad stuff. It’s also interesting to see how people are just crazy enough to do [these crimes],” said junior Brisa Barrios.

“I’ve always been into the way that their mind works and just interested in how people can be so different and think so differently. It’s like history because you know, crime makes up history,” added senior Emma Albornoz. Since crime is a part of history, we’re able to use past crimes in order to understand why this happened. 

Aside from wanting to know the whys and hows of crime, people may use true crime as a way to preserve their belief in justice. In The Psychology Behind Society’s True Crime Obsession by Jess Scherman, producer and director at First Sight Productions and host of the podcast “A Senseless Death,” Lindy Boustedt said, “True crime stories allow me to search for a sense of knowing, a sense of understanding so the world doesn’t feel so chaotic. It also is a search for justice—hoping that in the end, the right side will prevail and justice will be served.”

Some people may be losing hope in our justice system or may start to question it and perhaps, true crime shows/podcasts allow them to believe in the system again, knowing that, in the end, the right thing will happen. Also what if by watching or hearing about these stories, we can actually end up helping someone and stop anyone from being put at risk. 

“It’s insane to hear about the people that have truly snapped or need/needed help. To see how things could have been different if people only knew…ya know?” Said parent Alex Kertamus. Perhaps we like true crime because it gives us the ability to help someone that may need help, which isn’t a bad thing. True crime may even prepare us for the future.

“[True crime shows] are intriguing because we believe that [people] can glean knowledge of patterns of behavior that might help/save us in the future,” said Savid Acuna.