Library Dissertation Showcase

Has the true crime phenomenon influenced public attitudes towards forensics, and does it influence people’s fear of crime?

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

Crime has captured public interest for a long time, but the popularity of the true crime genre has undergone a more recent emergence. Largely credited to the increasing number of available documentaries on real life criminal cases, stemming from the release of ‘Making a Murderer’ in 2015. This study looked at whether public attitudes and understanding of forensic science, fear of crime and other related areas have been impacted as a result of engagement with the true crime genre. Significant pieces of work, from books to documentaries and podcasts, within the genre are discussed as well as the CSI Effect, public engagement and documentary bias. An online survey was used to gather responses on a variety of topics that linked back to the impact the true crime genre may have had on the general public. Results of the research showed that there was significant engagement with the genre amongst participants. There was a mix of opinions on whether participants’ own understanding of, and attitudes towards forensic science has been impacted. More broadly, participants believed that there had been an impact on how forensic science has been portrayed and perceived. There were similar trends regarding fear of crime. It can be concluded that whilst participants believed the genre has had an impact on the general public, more responders personally, had not been influenced in their understanding of forensic science and fear of crime as a result of engaging with the genre. Recommendations for further research into the effects engagement with the true crime genre may have on the general public have also been made.

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