The twentieth century—particularly the second half of the twentieth century—saw an unprecedented rise in crime figures. It is fascinating that the major economic events of the first half of the twentieth century, including The Great Depression and the World Wars, had little effect on crime figures. Instead, it seems to have been the general increase in affluence in the populous, teamed with the rise of the motor car—and the possibility of quick getaways—that led to the sudden shift.
It is not the quantity of crime in the twentieth century that still fascinates us, however, but those few crimes that were so horrendous, so romantic, or so striking that we cannot help but remember them. Those we call the crimes of the century, and we’ve gathered some of the most memorable together here.