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Mass Media Is Obsessed With Crime Essay

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Mass media is infatuated with crime. As a society, we have a great deal of fascination when it comes to crime and deviance. It is hard to turn on the television, watch a movie or open a newspaper or book and not be faced with the central and dominant theme that is crime. In recent years the lines between crime entertainment and crime information have been significantly blurred. The mass media often influences how people see crime, with the bombardment of criminal images and violence, it serves to increase public fear. The public believe crime is on the rise and only getting worse, when in actual fact this in contrast to the official crime statistics. Arguably, our knowledge on crime is influenced and shaped by the media, and there is most definitely evidence to prove this, but to what extent is this true? When a person sits down to watch the news, they are repeatedly inundated with criminal and violent images. It is said that seeing this overwhelming number of criminal images can lead to an increased fear of crime. Fear of crime can be described as an 'emotional reaction characterized by a sense of danger and anxiety... produced by the threat of physical harm... elicited by perceived cues in the environment that relate to some aspect of crime. ' (Garofalo 1981:840)
The medias portrayal of crime and the sheer extent to how violent these images can be, can seriously affect the publics knowledge and subsequently encourage them to greatly overestimate the level of crime.
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