• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Can crime reporting increase the publics fear of crime?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Can crime reporting increase the publics fear of crime? Firstly, this essay will briefly outline the reasons behind the concerns of crime in our society and the importance of tackling this issue. This essay will then explore the mechanism behind crime reporting and how the media exaggerate and distort facts to produce sensationalised articles causing an increase in the publics fear of crime. Today, perhaps never as vividly before, crime stands at the centre of public consciousness. The mass media serve up a regular diet of stories of rising crime, vulnerable victims and callous offenders. The public persistently voice their fears and anxieties about crime in opinion surveys and in official government studies prioritising their concern with the issue. The success of the police in dealing with the crime problem in general comes under ever more scrutiny, and the effectiveness and rigour of the criminal justice and penal systems generate never-ending controversy. It is clear that crime constitutes a major realm of societal concern (Bilton et al, 1996). The most important factor in determining what is in the news has become known as 'agenda setting'. The media effectively determine which issues become the focus of attention and have the power to make one issue dominate public debate and concern. This is particularly significant in relation to criminal activity as the media are generally the publics main source of information. ...read more.

Middle

p6). This quote had been included deliberately from a figure of high social status because it was less likely to be disputed and therefore reinforce the publics fear that deviant behaviour was out of control. Cohen argues that the press tend to take the same view as the police, magistrates and parents when there is seen to be a threat from gangs of youths. They overdramatise events and amplify peoples fears (Townroe & Yates, 1995). A further aspect of crime reporting is 'victim blaming' which occurs when the media consider that the victim has broken a social norm which has resulted in them being victimised. This is often evident in rape cases where the focus is on the victims past sexual history and descriptions of revealing clothing rather than the rape itself, apportioning some of the blame onto the victim and to some extent excuses the attacker. For example, after a widely reported gang rape in Brixton, where two teenage girls were raped at knifepoint through the night by a gang of six youths after trying to return home from a pop concert, the Detective Inspector in charge was quoted as saying: "It was not wise for these girls to be out so late" (The Gaurdian (1992) pg16). By selecting comments made by 'authoritative officials' the implications that females should not venture out at night is an ideology that is reinforced and even supported by the media where its norm setting function is apparent. ...read more.

Conclusion

This constant exposure to crime reporting can further reinforce the public's fear of crime. In conclusion, evidence presented in this essay indicates that crime reporting can increase the public's fear of crime. The mass media have clearly become a very influential part of our society. Virtually every household has a TV and over 20 million people read a daily paper so we are constantly exposed to what the media provide. With this in mind, for many people the mass media is their main source of information about criminal activity. Researchers have claimed that throughout the mass media crime, particularly serious crime is severely over-represented and this portrays a distorted image of the frequency of crime. This then increases the fear of crime among the public. The use of emotive language such as 'viciously attacked' and 'brutally raped' have a powerful impact on the reader and lead us in a particular way. Reports are often biased giving only one side of the argument manipulating the reader - the media control how we perceive the crime. It must be acknowledged that a casual link between fear and crime isn't clear because the public are subjected to various other crime related sources of influence and importance such as friends and family. However, recent studies suggest that news is not simply dictated to and absorbed unquestioningly by passive receivers. People can do and make use of the media for their own purposes and are capable of resisting and opposing media messages. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Is CCTV effective in tackling crime?

    centre' (Brown, 1995: 31). CCTV is therefore considered as an important tool in tackling disorder, anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime, all elements which form a major part of the government's Crime Reduction Programme. Also in keeping with the main aims of the Crime Reduction Programme, CCTV is seen

  2. Book Review Women and Crime.

    Although the book does consolidate all the information we already know, so it is easier to access, which is helpful. The author does achieve it aims because it tells you all the information about women and crime and the book is good for students studying women and crime.

  1. An analysis of The Daily Mail.

    In the papers 4% of all crime was drug crime and less than 0.5% was other crime. Newspapers over represent violent crime as this is what the public want to hear about and that's what makes news. People do not want to be reading about property being burgled every day.

  2. The following essay will explore the question; What is the relationship between policing governance ...

    the Audit Commission which was established in 1982 by the Local Government Finance . The Audit Commission focussed on the police in 1988 and early reports scrutinised the financing of police funding and budget allocation[16]. Later reports focused on operational matters including crime management and patrol work[17].

  1. Effectiveness of CCTV

    potential 'criminals' are members of the 'public' too!!! Assumption: CCTV is accountable and people are not concerned about civil libs.... The right of privacy is pitched against 'the right to walk down the street in safety'. The innocent have nothing to fear because the camera never lies......

  2. How useful are Sociological Theories in explaining crime and the control of crime? Consider ...

    Despite development of these schools of thought, there was no consensus, only a diversity of values. As a result there spurred a wave of interest in 'New Deviancy Theories', whose focus was on the meaning of behaviour and led to the development of a range of new sociological theories, one of which being Labelling Theory (Becker 1963).

  1. Describe the concept of a 'Moral Panic' and explain how this may impact on ...

    The term 'moral panic' was introduced by Stanley Cohen (1972) in his book entitled 'Folk Devils and Moral Panics'. This was as a result of the studies he carried out on the UK's media and social reaction to the 'Mods and the Rockers' in the 1960's.

  2. What is a gang?

    gang activity and also the lyrics glorify violence and abuse of women and promote disrespect for authority, especially the police. Violent crime: This group of young people perceived the main reasons for committing violent crime were: for power and image; because of individual problem; to be part of a group, and because of social problems in the wider community.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work