Are you a true crime junkie? Do you get exhilarated listening to dark tales of conspiracy, or, even darker, murder? Do you secretly wish you could help a grisly old cold case detective digitize his case files?
I’m not just a true crime junkie, but a Crime Junkie, with capital letters. .
A few months ago, I got introduced to a phenomenally produced podcast called Crime Junkie. It is hosted by two smart and funny people named Brit and Ashley. They share stories about true crime with empathy, and they are a credit to their field.
I wanted to share a tool that they talk about semi-regularly on their podcast, geared toward keeping yourself safe. It’s called an If I Go Missing Folder.
What is that exactly?
Stay tuned for more info!
My love of true crime
I have been obsessed with the macabre to some degree since I was about 8. Leaning towards sadder songs and movies, I simply gravitate toward things that tug on my heart strings.
I’ve been fascinated by true crime for as long as I can remember. It probably started in the summer of 1994. OJ Simpson, a renowned athlete and actor, found himself accused of the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald. My grandmother babysat for us often and I can vividly remember her turning on the TV and diving headfirst into car chases on California highways, crime scene photos, and closing arguments.
Top life dreams of mine?
- Find out if Zodiac was Arthur Leigh Allan
- See Boulder police solve the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.
- Win the lottery
Each one is just as unlikely as the next, with ALA dead and Burke Ramsey continuing his 23 years of silence.
But as a true crime enthusiast, these are questions that keep us up at night.
Link between true crime and mental health
Why do so many people find true crime fascinating? Especially with more and more people coming forward about mental health issues?
Shouldn’t we, as depressed people, be avoiding topics filled with trigger warnings and scary themes?
Speaking for myself primarily, there are a few reasons that people with mental health issues might be interested in true crime, and one reason they should be.
First of all, the true crime world is remarkable in its ability to create community.
It gives the disenfranchised a place to belong.
You don’t have to look a certain way, or have a certain education. We are united in our passion for cold cases, and finding missing persons, and DNA analysis.
Also, true crime gives us perspective.
I live with bipolar disorder and sometimes life can seem especially bleak. I know that is true for many many people.
But, at the risk of sounding glib, I’M NOT CURRENTLY GETTING MURDERED.
Listen. Having depression is hard. But it is a selfish and isolating thing. It causes us to withdraw and imagine that we are living alone on an island of our own sadness, and that no other such island exists.
True crime helps us see the darkness that exists in the world, and gives us a common thread we can use to link ourselves to other people.
Finally, true crime gives you an escape.
With stories that can span decades, there is so much information out that to immerse yourself in.
It is easy to become entangled in these stories, and it allows us to forget about the things in our own lives that haunt us
And, the one reason why we should be interested in true crime? Multiple studies show that those with mental illness are especially vulnerable to violent crimes.
“A 2014 analysis of five American studies of the victimization of “adults with mental illness” included 4,480 individuals. Victimization was defined very broadly to include “slapping” and “pushing, grabbing or shoving” as well as “sexual assault” or “using a weapon.” The 6-month prevalence of having experienced at least one such episode was 31 percent.”
We need to stay educated and be aware that these things happen. And we need to work together to keep the memories alive of past victims that the world works to forget.
Statistics you need to know
In 2018, the number of females missing in the United States that are/were under 21 years of age was 239,847. Over the age of 21, that number was 62,371.
As far as the number of people who were victims of murder, the number is also staggering. In my home state of Illinois in 2017, there were approximately 1,120 homicides.
We often live under the false pretense that these things could not happen to us. They happen to other people, those who live their lives far, far away from us.
So, we can see by these statistics that unfortunately these crimes are very common.
If I Go Missing Folder
Brit and Ashley of Crime Junkie recommend the following tool: an If I Go Missing folder.
This is a secure document that serves as a compilation of your important information. Its purpose is to complete it and share it with a few trusted friends and family members (if you are sharing hard copies, it’s best if the people don’t all live in the same house.)
This allows them to work in conjuction with law enforcement in the event you go missing, and speed along the investigation. Investigations are often halted due to lack of personal information about the victim, or lack of access to records.
This image just includes a very small portion of the kind of info you would need to include. I’m including the full document as a special freebie for new subscribers to my blog (see the form below) Current subscribers can contact me if they would like one.
These are really great additions to anyone’s true crime library. I just finished John Douglas’ Mindhunter and it was incredible.
Keeping yourself safe
It is vital to do what you can to keep yourself safe. Violent crimes might seem far removed from us, but they happen more often than we think.
They happen pretty often to those who are mentally ill, but they happen to everyone.
It happens to men.
It happens to women.
Crime happens to white people.
It happens to people of color.
Crime happens to Christians.
It happens to atheists.
So, let’s keep ourselves safe. That way, we can get out there and help keep each other safe.
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Are you a true crime fan? What case fascinates you the most? Don’t forget to subscribe at the top of the post to access your free If I Go Missing Document!
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