Common Mispercetions About Crime

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Common Public Misperceptions about Crime
By: Joseph Colombo

References Source retrieved on December 6, 2008 from Source retrieved on December 4, 2008 from ( Source retrieved on December 5, 2008 from. ( Source retrieved on December 6, 2008 from

There are many common misperceptions about crime that lead to ineffective laws and policies getting passed by the government. For example the news, may have you believe that there are a lot of murders that occur on a daily basis; however murder is statistically the crime that is least likely to occur. Certain shows such as CSI Miami, COPS and NYPD Blue can also give the public a false view of crime. For example CSI gives us the misperception of what a CSI agent’s job entails. If you watch CSI, then you might think that a CSI agent’s job is full of excitement and chasing down criminals in the street. This could not be further from the truth in reality all a CSI agent really does is test the evidence that the detectives find at the crime scene. On the other hand news coverage is not connected to the actual crime and it focuses on violent crimes, rape, terrorist, and stereotypes. Even when the crime rate decreases the news coverage has been known to increase. Violent crimes are obviously more interesting then burglaries so the news reports on them; however the problem with this is that people watch the news in order to get a realistic view of what is going on in America and the world. The media and the news make it seem as if the crime rate is very high and this gives the public a poor perception of America’s criminal justice system. Other myths include that anti drug campaigns reduce teen drug use. Also that using rational choice theory is the most effective way to make laws. The last myth is that gun control laws and tougher laws for criminals reduce the crime rate. The media mostly covers exciting crimes such as murders, rape and terrorism. This is why the public takes such an interest in crime and the criminal justice system. However this is also were many of the public’s misperceptions of crime come from. The news media pay a great deal of attention to crime, whether it is true or embellished. If you pick up a newspaper or watch a lot of television, then you are bound to here about terrorism plots against the country, and many other disturbing and violent crimes. The information in the news does not reflect the official crime statistics of the United States. The news also never educates the public about how detectives and police work round the clock to bring criminals to justice. The media usually distorts reality by concentrating on the leniency of the Criminal justice system. The only thing the media portrays to the public is the effectiveness of capital punishment; however sometimes the media will try to make it seem like an innocent man is waiting on death row just for ratings. Many of the criminal case that the media cover involve conflicts, murder, rape, and other dramas. The criminal cases that media cover involve drama, murder, and conflict which spark the public’s interest (OJ Simpson murder trial, 9/11 attacks). The Media covers these stories because they are running a business just like any other television show and they need ratings to make more money. For the media when they report on crimes they always involve conflict and drama to get viewers interested. Like any good mystery, murder cases always keep the public watching in order to find out the conclusion and verdict of the case. Only the accused knows if they are guilty or not in a murder trail. The public becomes more engrossed in the trail when there are different sides to what actually...
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