True Crime Community
|Name(s):||True Crime Community, TCC, True Crime, Serial Killers Fandom|
|See also:||Serial Killers, Columbiner|
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The True Crime Community is the fandom centered on notorious criminals, particularly serial killers and mass murderers. The fandom focuses on real lives and events as well as media based on true crime.
These fans are sometimes known as "groupies" of criminals. "True Crime Community" is the name preferred by members of the group.
Serial Killer Fandoms can be considered a subsection of True Crime fandoms and many regard these fans negatively and controversially.
True crime is a popular non-fiction genre, and some fan-produced media in this genre have developed their own fandoms. For example, My Favorite Murder is a true crime comedy podcast with a fan following that call themselves, Murderinos. BuzzFeed Unsolved is another example: roughly half of the show's episodes, including the first few to air, center around real-life unsolved crimes.
Popular activities in the TCC include reviewing the details of crimes, learning about details of the criminal's background and early personal life, and understanding the criminal's psyche and motivations by reading/watching their statements, manifestos, trials, etc. With unsolved murders or disappearances, true crime fans often review and discuss details of the crime and theorize about who may or may not have been responsible. WebSleuths is one such community of ordinary people discussing clues or details in ongoing missing people cases or unsolved murders.
Some believe that these fannish activities are overly sympathetic towards criminals, or sideline the victim's narrative. Many fans of True Crime do not view these activities as humanizing murderers or condoning the crimes committed. In fact, there have also been criticisms of true crime fans been overly flippant about death penalty or the punishment murderers should receive. 
There are also well known murderers/criminals who have large fan followings. These include Charles Manson, Ted Bundy (whose fandom is known as Tednation), Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez, John Wayne Gacy, etc.
Fans of True Crime are sometimes referred to as "groupies" of criminals. There have been widely publicized cases in which criminals in prison received fan mail and some even married female fans after corresponding with them through letters. These real life events may have influenced the usage of this term. Fans who write letters to serial killers are often discussed in true crime online communities, with many true crime fans confused or disgusted by the actions of groupies.
Some people question TCC fans interest in True Crime stories and struggle to understand the appeal of the genre.
Relation to Fiction
There are many works of fiction that center on criminals and killers, and also many works that are based on real killers. See Serial Killers for more on specific fandoms.
The True Crime Community and related fandoms are extremely controversial because, evidently, these fans are showing support for murderers.
Those in the TCC rarely engage with the many arguments against their interests. They either simply do not care about the people who have committed crimes, or find reasons to downplay or justify a criminal's actions. Mental illness is often used to defend a criminal's actions in order to argue that the criminal was not responsible for his actions or was also suffering. Fans generally avoid addressing the suffering of those victimized and murdered.
There are others who believe that these people are not actually criminals, subscribing to conspiracy theories that these people were forced by law enforcement or others to admit to crimes they did not commit.
In some rare cases, fans of infamous criminals will commit (or plan to commit) crimes of their own, claiming to be inspired by their infamous predecessors. The phenomenon of copycat killers has received some media attention.
TCC fans' acceptance of crimes is based on the romanticization of their actions. Fans have a generally abnormal perception of the severity and effects of violence. They often focus on the emotions and "passion" of the criminals.
Racism and Sexism
Statistically, the majority of serial killers and mass murderers are white males, who are often driven by misogyny or racism. Victims of these people are disproportionately female; along with women, people of color are often specifically targeted. These people often have a history of violent sexual behavior. In addition, many of the criminals are known to have had an interest in Nazism and related ideologies of white supremacy.
Fans are accused of feeding into the established patriarchy and white supremacy of society by holding white men less accountable for their actions, and by dismissing the suffering of non-white and non-male victims.
Links & Resources
- The My Favorite Murder Problem: The stories we tell about crime too often prop up fantasies about law enforcement and justice, New Republic article, published Nov 22 2019.
- Inside the World of Columbine-Obsessed Tumblr Bloggers a Vice article published February 24, 2015.
- Mass Murderers who wrote fan letters
- Killers' Groupies discussion at r/serialkillers, March 2019.