Many people are fascinated with dark and disturbing topics, especially in fictional formats where the crimes and the horrors of the actions are not real. Only a minority of people will ever actually commit a crime but criminal behavior is a subject of fascination for many. Taking a look at the lives of people who do pose a threat to others helps the non-violent members of society try to understand why criminals behave the way that they do. Often, people who turn to criminal behavior have had hard childhoods or past troubles—yet that does not fully explain why some people who are raised tough grow up peaceful while others turn to lawlessness. Ultimately, the reasons for criminality are diverse since they are based in the humane psyche which is a notoriously complicated topic.
There are many different kinds of crimes and criminals. Some crimes—like bank robberies—have been occurring for eons and are usually driven by poverty, desperation, greed and/or a disregard for laws. Other kinds of crimes were more popular in past times, such as piracy (although pirates still exist in some places). Gang culture and mobster mentality can be handed down and treated almost like a family business among a group of individuals. Meanwhile, serial killers commit crimes based on psychological urges rather than loyalty to a gang or for monetary motivations.
Criminals exist in society; it is a frightening yet inarguable fact. In order to steer clear of criminal lifestyles it is a good idea to look back into history and note how mostly every criminal—be they pirate or gangster or bank robber—usually met a bad end. Hence, the very biographies of criminals should be enough to deter most people from desiring to lead a life of crime!
Although non-fiction actually holds the most interesting crime stories, fiction has often regarded criminals as prime topics for books, TV shows, and films. Below is a list of five kinds of villains that are extremely present and popular in fictional media.