The popular obsession with murder mystery documentaries like "Making a Murderer" and "The Keepers" to strange crime hits like "Killer Sally" and "Tiger King," is a way to process trauma, a study finds.

The rising popularity of true crime is clear. Netflix releases a true crime documentary almost weekly and has the most watched catalog to date of the genre.

Why do audiences like true crime?

An article from the University of Washington School of Medicine says it's not just morbid curiosity, but a natural desire to work through trauma.

The best true crime podcasts, which can have real-world impact, are often made by 'journalists, or people involved in the law'

True crime documentaries, books, and podcasts often go into morbid levels of detail about gruesome killings — all of which happened in real life.

According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Justice Statistics gathered by the Pew Research Center, most crimes in the U.S. are nonviolent property crimes, like theft and burglary. However, the true crime genre solely focuses on humanity's worst crimes: kidnapping, homicide, abuse and cults.

The UW School of Medicine article concluded that for some people, an obsession with a true crime may "be a way to work through past traumas or confront current fears in a safe environment." This can be compared to exposure therapy or psychological treatment developed to help people confront their fears.

While watching true crime can be a way to process negative emotions, it is also important to note binge-watching the programs can encourage a view that the world is inherently dangerous.

Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) found that fear of crime can be seen as an essential public health issue, as it can impact the quality of life. This is because people make decisions about their behavior based on how unsafe they perceive the world around them. The total rate of fear of crime versus the risk of being a victim was drastically different.