Skip to Main Content

CIST Student Sandbox

IST 605: American True Crime

Resources on true crime and its phenomena in America.

Brief Overview

It's no question that Americans are fascinated with crime. Dahmer- Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was one of the most streamed Netflix shows of all time following its release in 2022. The American news circuit swarmed the famous Gabby Petito case for months following her disappearance in August of 2021. Ted Bundy is a name that everyone knows.

Whether it's good or bad, people love to consume stories and retell those associated with crime. This guide is designed to explore the narrative of true crime and its phenomena in America in an elective undergraduate class. Access to resources that delve into the world of true crime, its meanings in popular culture, and the lasting impact of said crimes and their publicity are available here. This a space for students to investigate true crime stories themselves and question why crime holds such gravity as a theme through the websites, articles, books, dissertations, and more listed here. Do the retelling of horrendous crimes glorify them in some way, or is it important to tell such tales in order to prevent future crimes? Maybe this topic is of interest just because it’s so unbelievable to the average Joe. You can decide for yourself after taking the course and looking at the resources. 

What is True Crime?

"By its most common definition, ‘true crime’ is a non-fiction genre of popular media that concerns real-life crimes. The focus of a work of true crime may be a single case – often a murder, disappearance, sexual assault or other violent crime – or the collective acts of a single criminal. Emphasis is placed on the presentation of facts and, where possible, the establishment of a chronology of events that took place during the crime."

Sullivan, O. (2023, February 28). The Triumph of True Crime Media. Lawyer Monthly | Legal News Magazine.,the%20perpetrators%20of%20violent%20crime.

The Basics: Uncovering America's Obsession with Crime

Crime in America- the Statistics

Databases to Search

      A help module for this database is available here.

      For search tips provided by Sage Journals click here.