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This essay is about the relationship between media and fear of crime which is a matter of rising concern in criminology in recent years. It also strives to study the youth offenders, the reporting by media, the fear of crime, the connection between the two, its effect on individuals and the broader community. It has brought into effect the relationship between media portrayal of crime and the prevalence of crime. The key demographics and variables of crime such as gender, age, education, and perceived neighbourhood issues, effectiveness of policing, income levels, are all statistically related to fear of crime. Media is the primary source of knowledge about the extent of crime and justice in the society. There are some positive yet not so strong relationships between influence of media and fear of crime. Prior to this there has been limited research on the influence of media on the youth. Since it is assumed that it does have an impact, quantification of facts and statistical data is required to prove it.
The relationship between media and fear of crime
It is understood that media plays a key role in the way people mould their beliefs and perspectives, yet there is a weak connection between feelings of insecurity and the media. Combating anti-social behaviour has become a major work of justice systems of today. The concept of anti-social behaviour and the reason behind the taking up of crimes by youth has not been effectively studied. There are certain factors working behind this:
Majority of crimes are not reported in media: It is a known fact as well as a subject matter of previous research that media reporting of crime is biased. In a survey conducted in Strathclyde region of Scotland, the data collected evidence that 6.5% percent of the space was devoted to crime reporting but covered only 25 % of the crimes (Wall, 2014). The crimes relating to sex or violence by youth are usually reported more than the crimes against public order, dishonesty, breach of trust and minor offences like theft are generally less on the reporting radar. A major observation was made that media, across all formats focused overwhelmingly on serious crimes and torrid images of violence and by contrast offences which are less heinous like white-collar crimes, and corporate offences but make up majority of recorded crimes are given less attention. This could be due to lack of sensationalism in such crimes (Whitty & Buchanan, 2012).
The crimes which tend to get reported do have an impact on violence: The determinants of fear of crime have been examined to find out that newspaper and television who are the major players in the presentation of news depend more on presenting news relating to sex or violence where as these crimes may be happening infrequently actually (Greer & Reiner, 2015). Consumption of such news heightens the awareness of these specific crimes more so when carried out by youth.
People have a choice on the kind of media contents they will consume so, the people who view or read such content are ready for it: People at all times are faced with onslaught of information from media. They are eligible to select which ones to consume or not consume but they may not be well equipped to do so. Each person focuses its attention on selected matters and in particular ways. This means all information is not selected and therefore also not processed. Some of the behavioural processes and perceptual focuses may be automatic but most others are under control and of deliberate violation (Ferguson, 2015). The youth when consuming such information may not be fully able to comprehend the gravity.
One can easily find a plethora of activities that are occurring if they type CVV2, hacking, etc in the search bar, mostly of the search bar of social media platforms. According to the report provided by RSA, social media is seen as a breeding ground for such fraud activities in cybercrime. As social media is rich in information the frauders around the web are taking advantage of these platforms. Earlier cyber crime was mostly related to stealing credit cards and publication of e-commerce accounts now a days there are numerous ways cyber crime is taking place. According to Riek, Bohme & Moore (2016), there are many frauds, dedicated social groups that are public, visible along with it is open to all. In this period of study, it has been detected that there are contents of more than 1500 compromised credit cards and these were published on several social media platforms. According to RSA report it has been seen that proactive steps arte been taken by social media by taking off the posts those are into this illicit activity. It is conflicted methodology about what is going on and the reassurance gap that has been opened in between public demands for internet security (bbc.com, 2018).
The impact is also influenced by the fact whether justice is meted or not: There is difficulty in identifying and quantifying a direct relation between effect of media and its relevance to procedural justice. Media plays a mediating role in as much as people depend on the media when grasping issues of crime and evaluating the institutions of justice which are the police and the courts. Media coverage of crimes such as serial murder is presented as sensational. They are often highly publicised and presented in all formats of media. Such depiction and following of these cases by public at large often creates fear within the public, reinforce the increased need for police and police resources (Jewkes, 2015), and can be taken in positive light as restraining the youth from becoming offenders. The way of individual interpretation of violence: The dramatizations of crime when reported on television and newspapers in a sensational way on first page and a person’s fear of crime is an attractive option intended to garner more viewers or readers but an actual relationship has been observed to be infrequent. The qualitative responses of a sub sample from a sample survey found no deviations from the observations that the interpretations of respondents were more important than amount and number of times that media was consumed (Ciardhuáin, 2014). Often the youth offenders were more influenced by demographic factors like financial problems, neighbourhood issues, flawed parenting and others which are not easy to quantify.
Because of this, although there is a positive relation between the media and the fear of crime and youth offenders, it cannot be ascertained if it is higher or lower. The implications of media and fear of crime on the broader community is an abstract concept, and difficult to define or measure in such a way that all would agree upon.
The way knowledge and information is dispensed and acquired has changed starkly over the past few decades. With the advent of television, video and more recent internet services it has become difficult to assess which factors affect the relationship between media and fear of crime. Though it can be safely assumed that the perceptions of society are formed on the basis of exposure through media but the extent cannot be safely quantified. Few decades back, the information used to come from first hand sources when the communities were more closely knit and media had not made inroads. Now people at large are bombarded with so much information at all times of the day that it becomes difficult to comprehend and critically absorb it. The passive consumption is more or less leading to positive relationship between youth offenders, media and fear of crime.
Bbc.com (2018) Social media a hunting ground for Cybercriminals Available from http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36854285, Accessed on March, 25, 2018
Ciardhuáin, S. Ó. (2014). An extended model of cybercrime investigations. International Journal of Digital Evidence, 3(1), 1-22.
Ferguson, C. J. (2015). Does media violence predict societal violence? It depends on what you look at and when. Journal of Communication, 65(1).
Greer, C., & Reiner, R. (2015). Mediated Mayhem: Media, crime and criminal justice.
Jewkes, Y. (2015). Media and crime. Sage.
Kahar, R., Yamimi, F., Bunari, G., & Habil, H. (2012). Trusting the social media in small business. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 66, 564-570.
Riek, M., Bohme, R., & Moore, T. (2016). Measuring the influence of perceived cybercrime risk on online service avoidance. IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing, 13(2), 261-273.
Wall*, D. S. (2012). Cybercrime, media and insecurity: The shaping of public perceptions of cybercrime. International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 22(1-2), 45-63.
Whitty, M. T., & Buchanan, T. (2012). The online romance scam: A serious cybercrime. CyberPsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(3), 181-183.