Media and Public Opinion Regarding Crime

Media impacts significantly on how the public perceives crime as well as criminal justice. Worldwide, most individuals and families get the majority of own impressions, as well as acquaintance, with crime along with criminal justice from media. The media defines how the interpret criminality along with criminal justice systems considerably. The media reports on actual criminal acts or imagined criminal acts via forensic television shows and crime scene dramas. The reports and representations of imagined criminal acts shape how the public perceives crime, as well as criminal justice, since people gain knowledge about them largely via observation. For instance, people perceive crime as undesirable when repeatedly exposed to television dramas such as CSI. Principally, the dramas present criminal acts as attracting adverse consequences almost invariably. As well, the dramas present criminals as markedly unworthy, as well as undesirable, characters (Surette, 1992).

Individuals observe, as well as learn, from what the situations media presents to them, even when they have never had direct contact with comparable situations. The individuals contextualize the information presented with respect to the situations. Most of them contextualize the situations and the crimes presented in them, if any, as scary. Over time, individuals who are often exposed to media representations of crime become increasingly afraid of criminal acts and crime. The individuals feel perplexed and insecure most of the time, afraid of falling victim to criminals. A few individuals appreciate criminal acts as fascinating from how the media presents them. Such individuals, mostly youths, may be motivated to engage in comparable acts (Humphries, 1999). Commonly, such individuals take the crime shows run on television rather seriously. They start craving to be elements of the shows, which they take as thrilling and fascinating.

The media’s representations of crime influence how the public perceives specific components of criminal justice systems, especially crime investigators and law enforcers. Programs such CSI along with NYPD BLUE commonly misguide individuals concerning the affectivity, as well as responsibilities, of the specific components. When individuals watch the programs, they may especially be put off by the approaches adopted by crime investigators and law enforcers and the skills they express in their work. Individuals in fact believe the perfection expressed by crime investigators and law enforcers in television dramas along with thriller movies. The individuals start fantasizing that the same perfection is possible in actual situations. When the crime investigators and law enforcers fail to demonstrate it in actual situations, the public may perceive the crime investigators and law enforcers and particular criminal justice systems as inept.

The media is a powerful, cultural tool for in conferring public labels to the changing characterizations of criminal acts with respect to age, race, gender, and social class categorizations. The media constructs the public perceptions of crimes and criminals socially, culturally, and economically with respect to the categories. When one particularly examines age, race, gender, and social class as they relate to crime control, order, and law in the light of how they are presented by the media, he or she understands the particular histories of the social categorizations in combination and in isolation (Barak, 1994; Totten, 2000). As well, he or she understands how the categorizations represent interconnected axes of inequality and isolation. Is the degree to which the media represents particular social groupings as prone to criminal acts may be dependent on the leverage that the groupings have on the media? Affirmative actions should be put in place to ensure that minority social groupings with no significant hold on the media are not presented to the public as more likely to engage in crime than majority social groupings.


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