Introduction:This report will talk about how media representation, displays crime andcertain types of crime to the public. Firstly, media includes every type of broadcastingand narrowcasting media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, mail,billboards, telephone and the internet. Secondly, acrime is an offence that merits community condemnation and punishment, usuallyby way of fine or imprisonment. When the two are in place togetherby mass media, it can have an effect on individuals and how they perceive crimeand the types crime happening around them.
Crime stories and representations are, and have always been a popular focus ofthe mass media, as it happens daily and effects the lives of many. Withnewspapers, committing roughly 30 per cent of coverage to crime. When lookinginto the public’s view of this mass production, it can have its negativeresults, as it can give a distorted view of crime and produce an exaggeratingand over-representation of certain crimes. Thus, then can lead to moral panicwithin the public and community, as almost all the crimes carry a vast amountof weight behind the story. Causing the reader to feel scared and anxious aboutthe crimes happening around them and hope that they don’t become victimsthemselves.
Mass media can scare the public and give them a fear of crime, as the public gets information from the media. This,for example can isolate but not limited to, non-whites, older generations,woman and also withhold victimisation experiences. In addition, effectingcharacteristics within an individual such as sex, age, race/ethnicity and priorvictimisation can be involved with fear. Connections for fear of crime have ledto reduced neighbourhood interaction, opting to stay indoors more often andwithdrawing from social activities, which can lead to physical andpsychological health.
“Individuals receive most of their information aboutcrime from media content” (Intravia and Wolf, 2017). This fear stems from frequentlywatching the news (with crime stories involved), exposure to violententertainment programmes and games, can lead to a cultivation of a fear ofcrime. Media representation overwhelminglytherefore influences what people believe about crime regardless of whetherthese impressions are true or not.
When looking at the public narrative of media and crime, the public and viewersseem to almost glamorise crime and enjoy watching crime stories presented onthe media. This can be from a documentary, box set series or film. The media entertainmentsource will only create programmes like this, if they are being watched andenjoyed by the public. These series are on criminals and violent acts in thepassed and in some way or another are being praised, or deemed as ‘cool’. Forexample, take the recent Peaky Blinders series on BBC2, this media representationcan cause violence. “sewing razor blades intothe peaks of their flat caps, so that they could blind rival gangsters byheadbutting them.” (Corcoran, 2013).
Programmes such as these create violence within entertainment, with then peoplethinking it might be fine to commit crimes like these as they are shown to aglobal level of entertainment. The types of crimes reported plays a serious factor with how the public willreact to mass media. As there are thousands of crimes happening per day, it isnear impossible to report every crime that happens, so only that which arenewsworthy is published. “A single rape may makethe local newspaper, but a serial rapist might become a national story.” (Courtauld,2014). Crime becomes newsworthy when it can be presented as serious, random andunpredictable enough so that a moral panic occurs in the sense that public getscared of becoming a victim’s themselves.Main body:Police officers can utilise crime from the media, to help with their jobs dailyand investigations of crime.
The media can give police officers access to thepublic, and vice versa. Due to the increasing amount of digital technologyimprovements, social media productions such as Twitter, Facebook and othersocial network platforms, along side the already strong connectingcommunications, like calls and emails. Can allow the police and public tocommunicate in real time about incidents and events happening; leading to it,being easier to report crime and resold crime.
Police officers can also use themedia to manipulate who their true identity for investigation reasons. “Police look at what information is public andsometimes create fake online identities to befriend suspects and view theirprivate information.” (Kelly, 2012)Police officers can also utilise the media, as they embrace the media as afighting tool. For example, police officers urge people to come forward whohave information about a crime, which is made available via word of mouth butalso on any media platform, such as social media, email and phone calls. Policeofficers can also release statements to the media about a crime, this canproduce information out, with also the return of provoking information backfrom the public trough the media. They also can use the media as a fightingtool, to urge the release of CCTV footage to help with an investigation. “111,608offences in the 5 years between 2011 and 2015—45.3% of all crimes recorded byBTP.
CCTV was classified as being useful in 72,390investigations—29.4% of all recorded crimes and 64.9% of crimes for which CCTVwas available.” (Ashby, 2017).Police officers do also approach media and crimein a negative way, but on the other hand possibly an effective way. Police havebeen known for releasing information rather late to when a crime was committed.
Furthermore, many of these crimes aren’t published to the media at all. In June 2009, they released information about 76crimes – less than 1% of the total of 7,951 cases (Green, 2009). Whenrelating back to the first outline of the topic in this report. Police officersmay not release information to the media, to help aid the fear of crime. Not releasingthe crime stories reduces fear of crime levels, lowers victimisation levels andisolation of race within a community. If police officers reduce the fear ofcrime by not releasing the stories to the media, this can then lead to themedia not getting hold of the information, then not being able to go on furtherto over-exaggerate a story. This then leads to reducing the levels of moralpanic.
Looking at a politician professional and the police force on the media andcrime. In 2005, David Cameron (Former Prime Insister) and the London MET Policecame to an agreement to introduced a zero tolerance policy “David Cameron todaytells the police to take a “zerotolerance”” (Hennessy, 2011). This a policy to crack down on crimesaying that not enough actions have been taken against it. This would allow theapproach to media and crime to reduce as the zero tolerance policing would preventmore crimes, which can then relate to a media story being produced.
The criminological perspective differs from public narrative because its morecomplex, methods are used to find a base layer, then allowing it to become easierto discover the truth. It is complex as there is way more structure to theirunderstanding, there needs to be a base value and ideas which sit with themedia for creating a story which needs structure for it to become newsworthy. Jewkens (2004) has their own structured opinion and method on what is considered’newsworthy’.
Therefore has come up with a structure of how the newspapers andmass media should report a story. Threshold, public events have to meet anordered and certain level of perceived important in order to be considerednewsworthy. Predictability, talks about an event has to be unexpected, extraordinaryand rare, giving the new story novelty value. Simplification, events need to simplifiedin order for the consumer to understand it greater, crime news, which isimmediate or sudden, are likely to be reported as the meaning is easilyconsumed. Individualism talks about how crime stories needs to have individualresponses usually cultural and political.
Risk: Serious offences such as rape,assault and sexual assault and murder, will have a known connection with thevictim. The idea of risk is that they show no concern for the victim andvictimising them as, for example show pictures of the person who committed thecrime to thousands of people. Sex, producers over report crime of sexual natureand conduct, this leading to a distortion for the overall picture of crime andhow the public consume it and creating a fear of women becoming a victim. Media will always get a audience with reports of a crime from a celebrity orhigh status person. Proximity looks into the idea of location.
Spatial proximitylooks at the how close an event is to a certain geographical location andcultural proximity is how relevant it will be to the audience. Violence createsdrama within a story, it gives a story, graphic back up to try to entice areader, which could not be seen, as morally correct in some respects. Spectacleor graphic imagery is the idea whether a story is deemed ‘real’ or ‘fake’,usually in television news. Children is a method used for any offence, butdeemed more newsworthy if children are involved, whether as a victim oroffender. Conservative ideology and political diversion is use broadly for the rightwing, for crime they can add emphasis, voicing support for police and pushingfor prison and tougher criminal justice system.Furthermore, from a criminology perspective, qualitative research would act asa base, for trying to resolve the solution. Qualitative research is used togather an understanding of underlying reasons, motivations and opinions.
Itwill provide an insight to the problem. These problems can occur through socialconstruction, behaviour issues becomes a crime, as it is a human experiencecultivated by society. Quantative research can be put in place to understandthe media and crime, if it then carries violence and fear within it. Collectionresearch such as questionnaires, structured interviews and observations.
To conclude, the media portrays crime in a negative way, crime stories ispromoted to be produced by the media as this creates a story allows the massmedia to make money from the entertainment. Whether these stories are true orover exaggerated, this still can cause moral panic, creating a fear within acommunity of people. Police and Politicians try to utilise the media by usingit to produce stories and their new policies to help aid moral panic, the fearof crime and becoming a victim. But can have their negative effects against them,for example not releasing crimes, which leads to the media creating a storyabout the Police. Mass media and Police can use criminologists theories andmethods to help aid the way that they approach certain stories of crime withinthe media.
As every crime can’t be produced, using a criminologist’s theory canhelp to show what is actually newsworthy and not to be over exaggerated.