YouTubers keep moonlighting as detectives
The Future. The rise of true-crime YouTubers actively involving themselves in open investigations is raising ethical questions and creating new challenges (and opportunities) for law enforcement. With a study out of UC Irvine finding that popular culture (starting in the 80s with Unsolved Mysteries) is “blurring the lines between what is information and what is entertainment,” these YouTubers may be an avenue for families to revitalize interest in cases gone cold.
Like, share, testify
Insider reports that “crimetubers” are increasingly on the case.
- True-crime interviewer Kendall Rae routinely has the family members of victims on her show, with relatives of Alissa Turney and Christian Andreacchio using it as a platform for support.
- Adventures With Purpose, led by Jared Leisek, focuses on cold cases where scuba-diving expertise is needed to unearth clues. It has already solved 23 cases thanks to sonar technology.
- Exploring with Nug, another diving-focused channel run by Jeremy Sides, went viral after discovering two teenage bodies last year that had been missing for over two decades.
Only Murders on the Internet
Police have a complicated relationship with crimetubers, with law enforcement saying that their involvement runs the risk of ruining evidence or putting undue pressure on departments. Also, the idea of growing a following and monetizing can embolden YouTubers to do things that could cause further damage.
Aware of those criticisms, Rae gives most of the ad revenue generated by her interview episodes back to the family members, which the families have used to hire private investigators or set up nonprofits. And some, like Adventures With Purpose, make themselves available to officers, providing a skill set and technology that most departments don’t have.