Crime Bites: True Crime Podcast Review
Dr. Elizabeth Yardley is an Associate Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University in the UK. Yardley is also a Director of Birmingham City University’s Centre for Applied Criminology. She specializes in homicide and crime in the media.
Crime Bites examines crime and society’s response to it through the lens of criminology. Yardley collaborates with other criminologists to explore how criminological concepts are at work in the “real world.” The podcast brings to the forefront cases and issues that the public cares about.
The first episode dropped on February 21st, 2017. At its inception, Crime Bites was initially released monthly, and each podcast episode was over an hour in length. Every episode was divided into three segments: Crime Case Study–in-depth look at a particular case; Researcher Profile–criminologist shares their research; and Crime Seen on Screen–discussion of a television crime drama or documentary.
What Needs Nuancing
The initial three episodes of Crime Bites are long and dense. Yardley tries to fit a lot of excellent material into each episode. This results in information overload and mental fatigue. I had to listen to the first three episodes in chunks, pausing after each segment for a break. Plus, I wasn’t keen on having to wait a month between episodes. During the long stretches, it was too easy to lose track of the show.
GREAT NEWS! After the release of the first three episodes and a couple of “Minisodes,” the format of Crime Bites changed. It’s like Yardley read my mind! The podcast now releases episodes on a weekly basis. The segments found in the original three episodes are now separated into stand-alone podcast episodes. No more need to pause to digest what you’re hearing. Added bonus: Yardley points out that releasing episodes more frequently helps her focus on current issues.
The sound quality of Crime Bites is a minor issue; it’s not always great, especially during Yardley’s conversations with other criminologists. I’m no sound expert, so I’m not sure what exactly the issue is. It might be acoustics, ambient noise, recording equipment, or a mix of some or all of these factors. Regardless, sometimes the sound quality isn’t stellar.
As you’ll learn below, however, this shouldn’t stop you from downloading and listening to each and every episode of Crime Bites multiple times.
All three types of Crime Bites’ episodes–what used to be its individual segments within each episode–bring something enjoyable and worthwhile to the table.
The Crime Case Study segments/episodes examine fascinating and timely cases, such as the 1996 disappearance of David Spencer and Patrick Warren and Steve Stephens’ senseless murder of Robert Godwin. Yardley and her guest criminologists draw on their years of experience to dissect crimes. In the process, they explore issues like gender, social class, the media, missing white woman syndrome, social media, wound culture, stalking, armchair detectives (like us!), and more.
The Researcher Profile segments/episodes provide researchers with the opportunity to explain their intriguing work. Not only does this allow researchers to disseminate their findings to a broader audience, but also it familiarizes listeners with how we can use aspects of criminology to better understand the world around us. For example, in an especially timely episode, criminologist Dr. Imran Awan discusses his work on hate crime and Islamophobia.
Last but not least, you’ll love the Crime Seen on Screen segments/episodes. Here, Yardley and her guests enter into lively conversation about television crime dramas and documentaries. For instance, their musings on BBC One’s Line of Duty and the American television series Dexter are insightful and compelling. Added bonus: you’ll gain numerous titles for your must-watch list.
Oh, one last thing. After you listen to each episode, make sure to check out Crime Bites’ extensive show notes. You’ll find a good overview of each episode plus a comprehensive list of links you can navigate to learn more about the cases and delve even deeper into the world of criminology.
I won’t be missing an episode of Crime Bites and either should you! Yardley and her team of crack criminologists provide listeners with an educational and entertaining gateway into true crime. What really makes this show stand out from most other true crime podcasts is that Yardley is an expert criminologist who really knows her stuff. Also, her tireless work to turn attention towards victims and away from perpetrators is commendable and refreshing.
Yardley does a tremendous job making the often inaccessible world of academia available to the average Jane and Joe. Even more, she manages to put together an engaging podcast while simultaneously teaching her listeners new ways to think about crime.
When listening to Crime Bites time whizzes by, even if you’re sweating on the treadmill, scrubbing the tub, or cobbling together dinner for the umpteenth time.
What are you waiting for? Go give it a try!
Hang on a second…before you go, check out this list of 3 true crime page-turners available this summer, and this link to learn more about the mysterious disappearance of Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman.
“The Mystery of the Milk Carton Kids” BBC News article
“Brother of Missing Chelmsley Wood Schoolboy David Spencer Speaks Out 20 Years On” Solihull Observer article
“Brothers Plea on 20th Anniversary of Missing Chelmsley Wood Boys David Spencer and Patrick Warren” West Midlands Police release
“Suspect in Cleveland Facebook Murder Fatally Shoots Himself After Chase” The Globe and Mail article
Line of Duty TV Series
Dexter TV Series