Society's Fear and Fascination with Crime Essay

804 Words4 Pages
In today’s society the term ‘crime’ could be described as a buzzword. It could be argued that today’s society is both fearful of, and fascinated by, crime. There have been many explanations as to why society is increasingly both fearful and fascinated by the crime problem in the UK. This essay will outline what is meant by the term ‘crime’; will present evidence that society is both fascinated by and fearful of crime and discuss what factors may be contributing to this.

Crime is legally defined as “acts which break or contravene the letter of the law” (Mooney et al., 2004, pg 6). There is, however, another definition of what crime is, “acts which break or contravene a set of formal or informal norms or codes” (Mooney et al., 2004,
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It could be argued that politicians are using society’s fear of crime to influence voters by manipulating their policies.

Media reports of crimes, on television and radio news programs and in newspapers are also becoming much more frequent and often more descriptive. People find the narrative ‘common sense’ story of crime portrayed in the media interesting reading, even though they may also be shocked and sickened by it.

There is evidence that levels of fear differ with different ages and genders. A study done by Hough and Mayhew (1996 in Mooney et al., 2004, pg 20) compared the percentages of different age ranges and genders in people than felt very unsafe and victims of street crimes. The study found that of those who were more likely to be victims of crime, generally the younger generation, many did not feel unsafe. Those who were less likely to be victims of crime, generally the older generations, were more likely to feel unsafe. As a society are we becoming paranoid about crime as we get older? Mooney (Mooney et al., 2004, pg 22) argues that there is more to analysing the fear and fascination with crime than just counting the crime problem.

Despite society’s apparent fear of crime, the fascination with crime has become ever more evident over recent years. We have seen a rise in crime-based television programmes, films and fictional books. In addition to this, people regularly attend social gatherings that are linked with the

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