Crime Time: Interest in true crime on the rise with media coverage


Mary-Kathryn Wert

Popular T.V. shows like Dateline increase the viewers interest, and spread information to a vast majority of people.

Elaina Gibson, Staff Writer

As sophomore Oliver Busenhart listens to Spotify ads, one for a podcast about the Black Dahlia case captures his attention, sending him down a web of conspiracies, starting his obsession with true crime.
From hearing it on podcasts to watching videos on TikTok, 74% of students said they are interested in true crime in a recent survey of 142 people. Senior AJ Williams feeds his curiosity by finding shows on YouTube that captivate his interest.
“I’ve been sort of an addict of true crime for about five or six years,” Williams said. “My grandpa got me stuck on it before he passed away, and it’s been a hobby of mine ever since.”
Attempting to solve unsolved murder cases can be an interesting way to pass time, Busenhart said.
In his spare time, Busenhart is trying to solve the Black Dahlia case where a woman mysteriously disappeared, only to be found dead days later in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. One of Busenhart’s theories is that the Black Dahlia and the Cleveland Torso killings were committed by the same person.
“They both had the same method of killing, and no one has found out who did either of the murders,” Busenhart said.
Sophomore Valeria Martinez-Mena’s favorite kind of crime cases are the ones without an explanation where no one knows the motive of the killer. Busenhart said serial killers usually have a timeline that includes a childhood upbringing that led them to commit the crimes.
“The psychological side of true crime is trying to understand how people process things,” Williams said. “The most deranged people obviously have some of the weirdest, more interesting backstories.”
Busenhart said that while deep diving into different cases can be amusing, he has become unbothered by the crimes because he listens to so many. Watching Netflix documentaries gives Martinez-Mena’s adrenaline rushes, making it hard to look away from the alarming things the killers do.
“Being desensitized to things like blood and gore and murder can be very harmful to a person,” Busenhart said. “I focus away from the actual killing and more about the psychology and the events that led up to it and the after-effects and the trial.”
A recent true crime TV show “Dahmer” was released on Netflix last year and caused some concern about whether or not it was right to dramatize such heinous acts. “Dahmer” has over 1 billion hours viewed on Netflix since its been released, joining “Stranger Things” season 4 and “Squid Games,” which also crossed this threshold.
Busenhart and Williams both agree it’s wrong to put such a point of emphasis on the killer, especially without permission from the victims’ family members.
“I think as long as it’s an informative stance on things it’s OK, and dramatizations like the ‘Dahmer’ series that came out are a little bit more intense,” Williams said. “A more informative stance is a better way to have a series.”
Busenhart said he recommends learning more about true crime to those who are interested in psychology or law because trying to understand killers is the most addicting part.
“Most murders I watch don’t have a premeditated motive and the people often act on emotions without thinking properly,” Martinez-Mena said. “I know this is horrible to say, but I think everyone should watch a little true crime, so we can all be prepared if anything happens to us.”