How large is the community of true crime investigators?
June 13, 2022 9:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm curious as to the size and demographics of the true crime community that tries to actually investigate stuff and come up with plausible suspects or theories as to what happened, amateur investigator style. Any idea how to find that information or calculate it (large error bars OK)?
posted by Nonce to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You're probably going to need to define "investigate" - there are numerous subreddits of people who are "investigating" various unsolved murders, to varying degrees of seriousness. And then there are various message boards devoted to different unsolved crimes. Trying to add up all of all the active users on each board/subreddit sounds like a headache. No idea how one would estimate the total population that does this, other than a randomized survey.
posted by coffeecat at 9:28 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]

Agree, in addition to Reddit there are groups like Namus and Cold Case Investigative Research Institute (which claims about 5600 users, in case that helps). So you could probably eyeball the number of users there (if you were a registered user) and the users in places like the subreddits.
posted by jessamyn at 9:54 AM on June 13

Websleuths is what you are asking about. An outdated user number (from 2018) says 136,498 users. I don't know how many of those actively participate but I would say a LOT. What happens is it is mostly "locals", so when a missing person or murder thread is launched locals go into action. Someone will try to do screenshots of social media sites if they are still up, someone will Google map the most important locations, someone will look up the jail rosters. Then outsiders will ask questions like - she was last seen at so and so tavern what is that place like? Or, is it safe for baristas to go home in the dark in that neighborhood? So very hands-on research. I don't know if they have ever solved a case and they have broken privacy laws, I am sure.
But that's the go-to place if you want to help crowd source crime solving.

I followed the Jon Benet Ramsey, Casey Anthony, Kyron Horman cases there. Among others. I haven't been there for awhile but I read they were active in the Long Island Serial Killer case.
posted by cda at 8:11 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]

I was just on the Websleuth's youtube channel (27.4k subscribers) and I see they talk about something called "Crimecon". 270,035 people follow their Facebook page
posted by cda at 8:18 AM on June 14

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