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Media Influence on the Public’s Perception of Crime, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 397

Essay

Thew idea that crime is always just around the corner is a common perception in American culture. An underlying reason for this is due to the media coverage of crime. In American culture, crime is used as a way of selling products and gaining widespread attention by media outlets.  According to N.R. Peirce’s article “Violent Filmmaking in Cities Impacts Public’s Crime View” (1994), the film industry, for example, is guilty of undermining the public perception of the safety if U.S. cities. Peirce writes that “Cities are victimized by an industry that […] depicts urban life in such negative, sometimes terrifying ways, that now millions of Americans view of cities is twisted in the process” (Peirce, 1994, p. 5). The dramatization of urban crime far exceeds the statistical average of real-life incidents of violence.

Charles Klotzer in his article, “The Fear of Crime” (1994) observes that crime is used as an easy “hook” by news networks. H asserts that “Crime dominates the news. Television leads most of their local news reports with incidents of crime.” (Klotzer, 1994, p. 2) The exploitation of crime by the news media contributes to the public perception that crime is widespread when, even in the worst years, and in the most crime-ridden locations, the odds of any given individual becoming the victim of a violent crime are extremely low. The main reason for the schism between the public perception and the real-world numerical average is due largely to the activity of the mass media.

As noted by James Andrews  in his article “ Violent Crime Declines, despite Public

Perception” (1993) the media remains a central influence over the public perception of crime. The article quotes James Fox, Dean of the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in Boston as saying: “Our sense of safety is influenced more by the media than by statistics,”   (James H. Andrews, 1993, p. 6). the sad fact is that, even if crime were all but eliminated form American society, the media would focus on those few crimes to draw viewers and thereby exaggerate the impact of crime in America.

References

James H. Andrews, W. O. (1993, October 13). Violent Crime Declines, despite Public Perception. The Christian Science Monitor, p. 6.

Klotzer, C. L. (1994, September). The Fear of Crime. St. Louis Journalism Review, 23(169), 2.

Peirce, N. R. (1994, April 11). Violent Filmmaking in Cities Impacts Public’s Crime View. Nation’s Cities Weekly, 17(15), 5.

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