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CRIME AND THE MEDIA What do Americans believe about Crime and the Justice System? Where and how do they develop these beliefs? What are the consequences.

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Presentation on theme: "CRIME AND THE MEDIA What do Americans believe about Crime and the Justice System? Where and how do they develop these beliefs? What are the consequences."— Presentation transcript:

1 CRIME AND THE MEDIA What do Americans believe about Crime and the Justice System? Where and how do they develop these beliefs? What are the consequences of these beliefs?

2 Criminology vs. Other Science How many crime related T.V. shows can you name off the top of your head? Crime and the CJS on T.V. news or newspapers? Crime and the CJS in movies and fiction books? How does this compare to biology, psychology, or physics?

3 Who Cares? People get information about most things from television, newspapers BUTwith regard to crime, the question becomes, How accurately does the media reflect crime, criminals, and the criminal justice system? Back stage behavior

4 Sources of Media Biasor Reasons for Skepticism Newspapers and T.V. news Crime in general captures audiences Violent crime, especially stranger violence If it bleeds it leads Politicians Get tough on crime = political payoff Entertainment Need for excitement belies accurate portrayal of criminals and criminal justice system Think COPS

5 Types of Distortion Creation of crime waves Attention to violent crime What about white collar crime? Creating/Spreading Crime Myths Halloween psychopaths The Serial Killer Epidemic Satanic Daycare

6 Class Survey: Crime Trends How many murders occur in the U.S. in any given year? Mean (average) = 44,472 Actual = 13,500 Is profiling an effective way to catch serial killers? 73% yes – Can you remember the DC sniper case? – Behavioral Science Unit of FBI?

7 2012 Class Survey: Percent agree for crime trends

8 Class Survey: Percent agree for crime trends

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12 What percent of homicide caused by serial killers?

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14 What percent of those found guilty had a trial (not plea)?

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16 Children poisoned with Halloween candy in past 20 years?

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18 Children abducted by stranger in typical year in U.S.

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20 Media and Crime: Summary Tendency to distort reality: Political rhetoric If it bleeds it leads (other types of crime?) Overemphasis on crime (crime waves) An effective criminal justice system Profiling, CSI, Police Detectives… Why is any of this important Dorthy and W.I. Thomas (1928), if people believe it, it is real in its consequences.

21 Fear of Crime Why is fear of crime important? How fearful are Americans? Are some Americans more fearful than others? Structural Factors (size of town/city, crime rates) Individual Factors (age, race, gender)

22 2011 Class Survey, % Afraid of Victimization by Gender

23 Attitudes Towards Punishment When polling questions are broad/general, it appears that Americans are punitive and punishment oriented: Do you support the death penalty for convicted murderers? (75% yes) In general, do you think the courts in this country deal too harshly or not harshly enough with criminals? (80% not harsh enough). Consistency across race, class, other factors BUT: Adding complexity to the questions affects answers

24 More Complex Questions 2011 Class Survey Responses Do you support the Death Penalty? 64% If given the option of life without parole? 54% Applegate, Cullen, Turner and Sundt (1996) 3 Strikes legislation 90% of Ohio residents supported 3 Strikes in general Only 17% choose life in prison as a punishment when given specific cases

25 What about Rehabilitation or Prevention? Again, public attitudes are complex Does the public want their pound of flesh? YES, believe in retribution and deterrence Does the public also want rehabilitation? YES, especially for drug/property offenses Is the public willing to use tax dollars for prevention? YES

26 Feature Presentation (If Time) Things to Watch for: 1. Ideology (not my primary reason for showing) – BUT, very ideological movie 2. Role of media 3. Fear of crime 4. Race


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