Weird Crime Facts Even The Most Seasoned True Crime Enthusiasts Probably Don't Know

Who doesn't love a bizarre true crime story? The proliferation of documentary series, podcasts, and other true crime tales prove humans have an unorthodox fascination with crime stories. Whether it's twists in true crime stories, crazy loopholes in the law, or the implausible details of a jaw-dropping case, the world of crime can captivate, horrify, and amaze.

Beyond the gruesome details, strange facts and figures about crime in the United States may surprise you.  For instance, there's a national park in the US where murder is technically legal. If you've ever wondered what type of vehicle is the most frequently stolen, or how many states have no laws against necrophilia, then check out what statisticians and researchers have confirmed regarding true crime trivia.

  • There's A Legal Murder Zone In Yellowstone National Park

    There's a 50-square-mile section in Yellowstone National Park where one can get away with murder and other crimes. Brian Kalt, a Michigan State University law professor, discovered the loophole in 2005 while researching jurisdictions for his article.

    Yellowstone National Park, like all US national parks, is federal land, and if a person commits a crime there, it falls within federal jurisdiction. Under the Sixth Amendment, a person accused of a crime has the right to a jury trial. The panel must consist of residents from the state and federal district where the purported crime occurred. So how does this "murder zone" come into play?

    There is a stretch of 50 miles within Yellowstone that crosses parts of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. If someone were to commit murder on this piece of land, the crime would take place in the state of Idaho, but under Wyoming's discretion. This portion of Yellowstone is unpopulated, with no potential jury members living in the area. Therefore, no jury trial can take place.

    Once Kalt made the discovery, he sent copies of his research to lawmakers with suggestions on how to fix the issue. His efforts proved fruitless, so this area of Yellowstone National Park remains a "murder zone."

  • Crime Rates Rise Depending On The Temperature

    Crime Rates Rise Depending On The Temperature
    Photo: NASA Goddard Photo and Video / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    The Chicago Tribune conducted a study and found certain crimes increase when the temperatures are higher, but the rate of some crimes decreases once the weather cools. Crimes occurring most often during hot days include assault, shootings, theft, and vandalism. The study concluded warm temperatures have little effect on homicide or drug-related crimes.

    How does the weather affect criminal activity? Several researchers believe hot temperatures compel people to focus less on the future, thereby relinquishing self-control, which for some can lead to aggressive behavior and violence. Brad Bushman, a professor of psychology and communication at Ohio State University, explained, "Climate shapes how people live, it affects the culture in ways that we don't think about in our daily lives."

  • It's Legal To Have Sex With A Corpse In More Than 20 States

    Necrophilia involves sexual attraction to corpses, which can include the act of having sex with the dead. Surely this is illegal, right? There is no federal law against it. In some states, necrophilia is a felony offense, but it's a mere misdemeanor in other states. And in over 20 states, there is no law against necrophilia. It's not limited to the United States, either. Many other countries do not have established laws against the act of necrophilia.

  • Police Can Confiscate Your Belongings If They Think You Purchased Them With Drug Money

    Imagine getting pulled over by a police officer, and they seize your car, claiming you bought it with drug money - which seems ludicrous given your lack of any drug offenses. Could this happen? Indeed, police have the right to confiscate belongings, anything from cash to cars, if they believe it involved illegal procurement.

    It's called civil asset forfeiture, and this practice meant a total asset gain of $29 billion for US police departments from 2001 to 2014. Citizens can endure a lengthy and sometimes costly legal process to try to reclaim their belongings, but most do not bother, as the expenses can cost more than the items police seized.

  • Hanging Is Still Legal In Washington, New Hampshire, And Delaware

    Hanging Is Still Legal In Washington, New Hampshire, And Delaware
    Photo: Alexander Gardner / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    With the advent of lethal injection in 1977, administering a concoction of drugs replaced hanging as a form of execution in the United States - except in Washington, New Hampshire, and Delaware. Despite execution hangings being legal in these three states, none have occurred in the US since 1996, and that one took place in Delaware.

    Delaware now officially recognizes lethal injection as its primary method of execution, but this excludes anyone sentenced to hanging before the 1986 law change.

    If done correctly, hanging should cause near-instantaneous death, but it could also leave a victim in agonizing pain for many minutes. Over the years, there was much debate over the safest form of execution. Most current methods can result in a botched execution.

  • Male-Identifying Individuals With Less-Common Names Tend To Commit More Crimes

    Considering the adage "It's all in a name," it's not a bad idea to consider the future when naming a child. In 2009 a study revealed uncommon male names have a correlation with crime rates. The statistics come from a list of more than 15,000 names of people involved with a crime.

    According to the study, Michael "was the least likely name to have an association with juvenile delinquency," whereas Tyrell had a much lower rating on the point scale, and thus could more likely have a connection to juvenile crime. Two economists at Shippensburg University who performed the study, Dr. David E. Kalist and Dr. Daniel Y. Lee, concluded, "Regardless of race, juveniles with unpopular names are more likely to engage in criminal activity."