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Are Crime "Facts" Really "Myths"?

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Are Crime "Facts" Really "Myths"? Crime myths and facts are often confused. Crime myths are created when the media, government and other influential figures sensationalise particular incidents that occur within the community. Although there are many similarities between the "myths" and "facts" the distortion of the two are prominent when studied through surveys and police reports. "crime facts" could be considered somewhat inconclusive, when the only way to gather information comes from survey statistics and police reports. Through comparing and contrasting "crime facts" and "crime myths", this essay will explore whether there are any actual "crime facts". "Crime myths" evolve from the hysteria created by people who study crimes. People study crimes for many reasons with the foremost reason being "to find a solutions to Society's concerns" (Kappeler & Blumberg & Potter 1993, p2) about crime and to also find out why certain issues stand out more than others. (Kappeler & Blumberg & Potter 1993, p2) These societal concerns are brought to people's attention in one of two ways. Firstly by people who have an interest in a certain occurrence; in there mind it is of great importance. Secondly, by people who construct their definition of societal concerns from other sources e.g. Urban legends. The truth is somewhat distorted to fit their own opinion or view similar to "Chinese Whispers" where the truth gets 'blown out of proportion'. ...read more.


The government may report to the media that the crime rate has increased dramatically over a period of time; however the government may suppress the fact that this is proportional to the increase in population and the increase in the number of people reporting crime, thus creating a belief to the public that the crime rate has risen, when in fact it may be comparative. (Cowdery 2001, p22) Another example of how the government has control over society's perception of crime in Australia was given by Walker and Henderson. They write "while researchers examining prison trends over a period of time identify a growth in prison numbers for child sexual abuse, this is due to more severe penalties therefore a longer sentence" (Walker, Henderson 1991, p4), thus creating a myth that more people are in the Correctional System but really they are just incarcerated for a longer term. (Walker, Henderson 1991, p4) Anyone is capable of a committing a crime. The view of a 'typical criminal' has varied over the years. Lombroso believed that criminals "were born that way" and likened them to "Apes" because he believed "they had longer limbs". (Gabor 1991, p28). I am sure that this is no longer the view of the average person, but the average person tends to stereotype people who commit crime. ...read more.


Reference List ABS (2002) "ABS Crime and Justice Data" in A Graycar and P Grobosky p31-38 as sighted Study Guide CCJ15 'Crime and Justice' Braithwaite, J 1992, Crime Shame and Reintegration, "On Consensus" p38-43. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press as sighted Study Guide CCJ15 'Crime and Justice' Cowery, Nicholas 2001, Getting Justice wrong: Myths, Media and Crime, Allen & Unwin, Sydney Gabor T 1994, Everybody does it!: Crime by the public as sighted Study Guide CCJ15 'Crime and Justice' Gabor T 1994, Is everybody doing it? The extent to the Public's Criminality, as sighted Study Guide CCJ15 'Crime and Justice' Gabor T 1994 Our Stereotypes of the Criminal as sighted Study Guide CCJ15 'Crime and Justice' Goldsmith, Israel, Daly 2003, Crime and Justice: An Australian Textbook in Criminology, 2nd Edition, Lawbook Co, Sydney Graycar, Adam and Henderson, Monika 1991, Understanding Crime Trends in Australia, http:// www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi28.html Graycar, A and Grobosky P 2002, "Trends in Australian Crime and Criminal Justice" 9-20 and 22-26 as sighted Study Guide CCJ15 'Crime and Justice' Felson, M 1998, Crime and Everyday Life as sighted Study Guide CCJ15 'Crime and Justice' Kappeler, V, Blumberg, M, and Potter, G 1993 The Mythology and Crime and Criminal Justice, p 1.20 as sighted Study Guide CCJ15 'Crime and Justice' Northern Territory Government 2003, www.nt.gov.au/ocm/media_releases/20030915_ntcrime Sarre, Rick 1994, Uncertainties and Possibilities: A discussion of elected criminal justice issues in contemporary Australia, University of South Australia, Adelaide ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 of 7 ...read more.

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