By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
Let’s get rid of that silly hackneyed phrase “crime doesn’t pay.” It’s not true.
I’m not sure if it ever was, but if it was, it must have been a long time ago in a long-forgotten land.
Today, being notorious for committing a crime means people will offer money in the form of book deals, interviews, and movies. Maybe even a reality show for someone the public thinks got away with murder, like Casey Anthony.
As odd as it sounds, crime is the basis of a legitimate industry that brings in billions of tourist dollars every year. True crime travel destinations vie with Caribbean cruises and trips to Disneyland.
In Boston, where reputed crime boss and 16-year fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger is back in federal custody, tourists find mob-related tours an “offer they can’t refuse.”
“We’re definitely seeing more interest in our tours,” said David Aspro, who leads the Boston TV & Movie Sites Tour for New York-based On Location Tours.
“We’ve sold out both the tours we’ve done since he was captured, and I think we’re on pace to do that again this upcoming weekend,” he told the Associated Press.
The tour takes visitors to different locations ranging from Louisburg Square, the Beacon Hill park seen in “The Boston Strangler,” to the flower shop/headquarters of gang boss Fergus Colm (Pete Postelthwaite) in “The Town.”
Not your cup of tea? Try a trip to “Sin City’s” Mob Experience Museum where criminal memorabilia from Nevada gangsters like Bugsy Seigel and Meyer Lansky is on display. They also have a new interactive exhibit that takes visitors on a one-of-a-kind journey into Las Vegas’ crime riddled past. Amid extravagant realistic settings, the visitor becomes part of the exhibit. They’re given a name and a character of their choice to lead them on the historic virtual tour.
Not interested in going to Las Vegas? No problem. Try the “Weird Chicago” tour.
You get to see the ghosts, gangsters, and the ghouls of the Windy City.
Join Weird Chicago for a walk on the dark side of the city during this grisly and chilling tour. This is not an ordinary crime tour but a look at the most depraved murders in the city's history - and some of the darkest crimes ever committed. It’s a trip back in time to revisit some of the bloodiest crimes of Chicago's past.
The tour includes death sites, crime scenes and haunts of Chicago's most notorious killers. Coming up soon; the Dillinger Death Anniversary Weekend on July 22 and 23rd.
We must not forget Washington D.C. and the National Museum of Crime & Punishment. If you’re a serious crime fan, be prepared to roam three floors totaling 25,000 square feet and featuring over 100 interactive exhibits.
This tour is a “Must See for CSI fans,” according to the Today Show. They now offer a history of the Casey Anthony case, along with the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, the controversial O.J. Simpson case (once considered the crime of the century) and an exhibit on the “Freeway Sniper.”
Fans of crime dramas like CSI are offered a new tour in Los Angeles that will surely appeal to their investigatory instincts. "Crime Scene Tours" will allow visitors to explore some of the city's most famous crime scenes. Organized by Starline Tours, the operator claims the tour will be "perfect for amateur sleuths and drama junkies who enjoy television's most popular crime shows," according to a recent LA Times article.
At each stop, tourists will hear a re-telling of the infamous crime that occurred there. Crime scenes include the North Hollywood bank robbery, which resulted in a spectacular shootout between the robbers and the LAPD.
Also covered is the Black Dahlia murder - the crime scene and circumstances surrounding the murder of 22-year-old waitress Elizabeth Short, dubbed the “Black Dahlia by the press.”
Without a doubt, crime pays. I’ve offered some examples, and there are plenty more out there if you want to add to this list. I make no moral judgment about those who follow crime stories, serial killers, etc. Heck, I have to count myself in that group.
No. I simply point out that crime does pay. Every day. Still, the irony of rewarding the bad men and women in our society and those who seek to profit from their crimes makes me uneasy. I realize I’m complicit when I buy a book like “The Green River Killer,” or “In Cold Blood.”
As It Stands, the answer is to not buy, read, or listen to, any true stories about killers in our society. Not a likely scenario for most of us.
Websites that have picked up this column:
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Las Vegas Crime 7/17 Crime, law and justice, and police blotter near Las Vegas, NV or anywhere in the US.
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Topic Hawk – 7/17 What people are saying…
Famous Serial Killers – 7/17 under “Recent Posts”