The grisly details of murder and true crime fascinate Americans.
“Murder captures our attention,” said Dr. Kim Davies, Dean of Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, who is also a sociologically trained criminologist with an academic focus on homicide and violence. “For a lot of people, I think it’s the idea of solving a mystery. And many people who find murder so fascinating, haven’t ever seen an autopsy and then haven’t seen a death.”
Just last month, Oxford University Press published Davies’ new book, The Murder Book: Understanding Homicide Today. This is the second book Davies has had published, the first coming in 2007. Her new textbook explores topics such as the increase in mass murders, the change in Stand Your Ground laws across the country and police shootings as it relates to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“When I wrote the last book, students were fascinated by serial murder, and a lot of students still are, but now it seems like we are more focused on mass murder.”
In her book, Davies also discusses homicide trends in the United States and across the world.
“In the United States, about 84% of murders have been committed by men,” Davies said. “Why is that? And most of the murders that women do, we tend to kill our partners, but the percentage varies somewhat by country.”
In 2020, the United States experienced the biggest rise in murder since the start of national record-keeping in 1960, according to data gathered by the FBI.