The Effects Of Media On Fear Of Crime

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Overrepresentation of Crime and the Media

Numerous studies have been done investigating fear of crime and causal links (Dorfman and Schiraldi 2001; Gerbner and Gross 1976; Hale 1996). However, few empirical studies have been done that examine the effects media has on fear of crime (Chermack 1994). Media is defined as a manner in which we can access information and news through technology (Gillium 2000). This might be on television, radio, newspapers and magazines, and other online sources. Studies have found that media is dominated by violent and unusual crime, giving the impression that there is an abundance of violent crime and the public should be very worried (Belden 1999). This overrepresentation of crime may give the impression that crime is running rampant when in fact the incident of violent crime is decreasing (Belden 1999). According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, crime was at its lowest point in 1998 (Belden 1999). However, 62% of poll respondents felt that juvenile crime was on the rise (Belden 1999). This paradox may be explained by the dramatic increase of crime reporting among popular media outlets. From 1992 to 1993 crime coverage doubled from a base of 830 stories to 1698 stories in that year that were covered by national news television stations (Dorfman & Schiraldi 2001). This rate increased until 2000 when crime reached the most reported topic with 14,298 crime stories in that year according to Center for Media

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