Heart beating fast, adrenaline running through your veins, with spinning thoughts over the countless details of dark, unspeakable crimes. All of these things come with the “True Crime” genre, but no matter how thrilling all of that may be, True Crime is not as safe as many think.
True Crime is a genre of film, podcast, or nonfiction literature that displays the real-life stories of criminal cases. This genre is everywhere in the media, especially in more recent years. One in three Americans indulge in True Crime once a week, which seems safe and innocent, but there are many negative effects that come with this thrilling genre which may be difficult to see right away. From the glorification of criminals to negative psychological effects, the impact of True Crime should be brought to people’s attention before they decide to try out a new podcast, or T.V. show of the genre without fully understanding what comes along with it.
A common thing that True Crime deals with is murder and serial killers. Oftentimes, these documentaries or podcasts glorify these murderers, leading to people having a skewed perception of what the terrible crimes were actually like. The glorification, as well as the romanization of both murder and serial killers in True Crime can give people unhealthy fascinations with morbid situations that should not be seen as such. It is usually okay to take interest in stories like these, but where the line of what’s healthy or not gets blurry when the True Crime documentary or podcast starts to display a murderer as “damaged” or “misunderstood”. This is harmful to both viewers and the families of victims and survivors.
It is no secret that True Crime can play tricks on the brain; however, they are not always as harmless as they seem. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are real psychological issues that can affect those who watch a lot of True Crime. Anxiety can be caused by the content of True Crime turning innocent curiosity into genuine fear. It can also cause paranoia, such as believing the things seen in True Crime will come true. Watching these violent and horrific things can make them seem real, because they were, and can often paint the picture of the crime a little too well. The paranoia that can come from absorbing this media is not worth the temporary thrill, and the way it makes the mind spin in psychological circles is not good for an average person.
True Crime often reinforces stereotypes in the viewer’s mind and can even lead to people taking information displayed in it the wrong way. Oftentimes, this True Crime genre lacks empathy, which can draw impressionable people in. Everyone has their own idea and interpretations of crime, and the last thing people need is for True Crime to mess with that conscience. The tendency this genre has of messing with the lives of victims and their families in order to make it a better story, denies them the closure they deserve.
Some may argue that it is a good thing to indulge in True Crime, to better understand the criminal justice system, or for pure entertainment. Good, educational True Crime certainly exists; however, it has become a standard throughout the years to glamorize what actually happened when bringing the crime into the media.
The lasting effects that True Crime can have on a person are not worth the entertainment or education. And unfortunately, there is a lot of false information out in the world, which to an extent, can discredit the truth of the situations seen in True Crime.
True Crime is not for everyone. People should limit the time they spend watching, listening or reading about it, or even stopping altogether to protect themselves from the negative things that can come out of it. Sometimes things are meant to stay in the past, especially the horrendous crimes that do more harm than good.