Fear Of Crime In The Media

Decent Essays
Crime is an issue that has been affecting society for years now, it is a phenomenon which has always been present. It is now almost impossible to imagine a society without crime as it is something which is all around us in the news primarily in the media through the TV and internet. In a sense we do not need to experience crime directly to be affected by it. News reporting has made us far more aware of crime for better or worse. However whilst our knowledge of crime has

(Gilliam et al 2000) The reason why crime is ideal for news reporting is that crime news is in demand, whether we fear crime or not we still want to be aware of it. In a recent study of 56 different cities crime prominently features in local news. (Weitzer and Kuborin) media
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(Gillian.Jr et al 1996) it has been well noted that public concern about crime is heavily influenced by news coverage as the media focuses on particular issues to do with the public. According to (freeman 1999) crime represents a large part of news reporting over the last decade. A content analysis of national news casts from 1981- 1986 found that the NBC ABC and CBS television networks broadcast more than 1,100 reports on crime. (Gilliam et al 2000) local television news is the primary source of information on international affairs. The media over represents violent crime like murder, furthermore it puts across the idea that crime has no real explanation so we should not attempt to understand it (Surette 1998). As media world is vastly different to the real world it may enforce the idea that the world is a big and scary place. Therefore prolonged exposure to news about crime may result in fear about safety from the audience (Gerbner and Gross…show more content…
However the question we need to ask is whether this applies to crime news. “Does seeing violence in news coverage encourage imitative or copycat behaviour?” (Anderson et al) The problem is that there is limited research on how news stories on violent crime have an effect on behaviour and what little research there is could argued to be inconclusive. Field studies in this area have looked at violence in communities before and after exposure to violent news events. There was found to be a ‘contagion’ effect, this was true especially when it came to suicide as news reports about a popular individual’s suicide may increase chance that another person will commit suicide. Berkowitz and Macaulay found an increase in violent crime after big cases of murder were reported in the areas during early-mid 1960s like the assassination of President Kennedy. The media is one of the main causes for the panic over crime. Most people will not experience crime directly in all of their lifetime but they will be exposed to it by the media especially television
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