CH. 2 – Crime Waves, Fears and Social Reality (Kappeler)
Facts About Crime and Criminals
There is no crime wave in US
Most crimes are minor incidents
not serious, violent or dangerous
Most crimes committed by those we trust most
Most do not involve use of weapon
Government hides corporate crime, political crime and corruption
Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
Most commonly recognized measures of crime in US
Exaggerates serious crime
reported by local police depts
no 2 agencies classify crime in exactly the same way
gives false impression that street crime is more dangerous and common than it actually is B.
Statistics can be manipulated
subject to political manipulation
police officials make crime rates rise or fall depending on political exigencies 3.
is data falsified??
National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
Better source of crime data
Measures both reported and unreported crime
Steady decrease in violent and property crimes
violent crime down 55.4% and property crime down 48.8%
decreases are not small or marginal and they are consistent 3.
between 1993 & 2003 no crime category showed victimization increase
Reality of Crime
Strangers and crime
NCVS data states that 55.5% of all violent crime victimizations were by “nonstrangers” B.
Weapons, injury and crime
weapons used in 24% of all violent crime
use of weapons declining
most violent victimizations do not involve weapons
Race and crime
media and politicians play on ingrained racism in US
interracial crime is very rare
73% white crimes victimized by whites
75% black crimes victimized by blacks
grossly distorts our view of crime
news media make violent crime seem normal and commonplace 3.
primary and most consistent source of info on crime, criminals, crime control policies and criminal justice system for most Americans 4.
seek most sensational and unusual crimes
distorted coverage leads to misinformed public
criminal justice establishment has a pecuniary interest in crime portrayed as serious and growing a.
criminal justice complex employs approximately 2.3 million people 2.
enormous sums of money, jobs and beurocratic survival depend on increasing concerns about crime 3.
policy decisions and jurisdictional issues
large and growing private crime-control industry
What about crime and victims of criminal justice officials, political leaders and professionals? 2.
Corporate America, the medical community and military?
CH 3 – Myth and Fear of Missing Children (Kappeler)
Influences of public perception
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
established in 1984 as a private, non-profit organization 2.
policy based on stories emphasizes and exaggerates one aspect of problem while ignoring others 3.
linking missing with sexually exploited children precipitates increased emotionalism and concern 4.
suffering of parents lends urgency to advocate groups
gives false impression of magnitude of problem
2002 theme seemed to be child abductions -> few cases were sensationalized and caused a panic C.
Children can be missing without being exploited or abused AND exploitation and abuse can occur at home D.
Lack of clear definition of child abductions further complicates the issue
Creating Reality Through Misleading Stats
Early reality behind stats
1 million of nearly 1.5 million missing kids are runaways 3.
children not removed from missing files once located
More reliable numbers
NISMART – 2
numbers derived from 4 surveys
numbers show runaways account for 86.5& of missing kids
10.5% abducted by family member
only about .00006% resembled the media depictions of stranger abductions C....
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