Why Are We Obsessed With True Crime?

Every day it seems like there is a new documentary to watch or podcast to catch up on. And everyone eats it up! Shows like Making a Murderer, The Keepers, or The Staircase are just to name a few. Why are we so obsessed with these horrible crimes? Why do we wait for the next new documentary like it’s the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy? We can’t seem to get enough of them, but it’s hard to pinpoint why. What is it that draws us to these shows?

1. We are curious.

For most of us, we live relatively regular lives. We go to work, we come home, go to bed, and repeat. It can get boring and tedious. As soon as we turn on that true crime documentary, we are immersed in the crazy life of someone else. We want to know what it’s like without actually putting ourselves in their situation. We want to know all we can about this case and how it happened. From the comfort of our own homes of course.

2. We don’t want it to happen to us.

When we hear about something horrible that happened to another person, we want to make sure it doesn’t happen to us. The more we know, the more likely we are to prevent it, right? It gives us a sense of preparation. We see what they did and what might have worked or not worked in their situation. We feel as though knowing everything about the crime can teach us what we should do. Ultimately, we are worried it will happen to us.

3. It makes us feel human.

Do you know anyone out there who just loves a good cry? Or likes to hear about people who aren’t doing the best? This is fairly common. As humans, we like to empathize and understand each other. We want to know the struggles so we can try to relate and comfort them. It makes us feel human to experience these emotions, good and bad. 

4. We always see it on Facebook or the news.

It’s hard to miss those true crime stories. Everyone seems to be talking about them. We see the story on our news feed on Facebook or someone talking about it on Instagram or Twitter. It’s almost impossible to get away from. It’s also hard not to watch the latest documentary out there when everyone is talking about it (*cough cough* Tiger King). We just have to know so we can be included in the conversation!

5. Its an insight into the world of detective and police work.

Many of us, at some point, were interested in working in the legal field. While it didn’t work out for many of us for whatever reason, we are still very interested in seeing what they do! We want to know what their days look like and the type of cases they get. We want to know how they go about solving the puzzle. While we can’t live that life daily, we can step into it temporarily through our true crime books, podcasts, and TV shows.

6. People like feeling scared.

Horror movies have been around for as long as we can remember. True crime is another version of a horror movie. It is much more realistic and, in many ways, scarier. It makes us feel scared, like horror movies do. It gives us that same sense of thrill and terror.

7. We learned it from our parents.

When I ask people why they love true crime, the most common answer I get is that they got it from their parents. At some point in their life, they watched Forensic Files with their parents, grabbed the latest Ann Rule book off their bookshelf, or overheard a conversation at the dinner table about the most recent case. From there, they got more and more curious about the subject and found new cases to look into. It shaped us into the murderino we are today.

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