The Importance Of Media Representations Of Crime

Decent Essays
Media plays a very important part in shaping public perceptions of crime (Levinsen & Wien, 2011). Media representations of crime are distorted, overrepresented and particular crimes are portrayed extensively, however they may be an infrequent event (Ditton & Duffy, 1983; Jerrin & Fields, 1994; Han Er, 2014). For example, violent crimes such as serial or mass murder and children as victims of sexual crimes are overrepresented compared to corporate or white-collar crimes (Jerrin & Fields, 1994; Han Er, 2014). The media distorts facts for the purposes of entertainment, economic gain, public demands of fascination, and policy change in the criminal justice system (Han Er, 2014). This is because the public is fascinated with themes of violent …show more content…
The media has the power to cause moral panics and a fear of crime in the public through its depictions of certain crimes and criminals, particularly based on their age, ethnicity, gender and social class (Han Er, 2014). Another important reason to study media representations of crime is because public perception of crime is dependant almost entirely on media representations of crime (Davis, 1952; Ditton & Duffy, 1983; Jerrin & Fields, 1994). This causes people to form stereotypes of certain criminals and crimes in their society (Han Er, 2014; McCreanor et al., 2014). As a result, people start to believe the myths and distortions created by the media and associate minorities, groups or individuals with certain crimes (Dowler, Fleming & Muzzatti, 2006). The language media uses to represent crime is a crucial feature which can add to the distortion the media intends to paint the story with. The media’s choice of language in constructing opinions of certain groups can also cause stereotypical labels and the public distancing themselves from those groups (McCreanor, 2014). Numerous studies have shown that crime reported in the media does not match up with official crime stats (Davis, 1952; Ditton & Duffy, 1983; Jerrin & …show more content…
The ‘I’ve Been Stabbed’ (Tapaleao & Schoultz, 2016) article takes a negative view on Tinder as well as other online dating apps. It also has a negative view on teenagers as they have been the main perpetrators of these crimes. It claims that this is the “latest incident where Tinder and other online dating apps have been used to undertake criminal activity" (Tapaleao & Schoultz, 2016, p. A3). It goes on to say that with more people using these kinds of dating apps it is creating a bigger pile of potential victims for the criminals also using these apps. The article gives examples of a woman being drugged and raped by a group of men after meeting up with a man she met on Tinder, and of a woman falling 14 floors to her death after she went to an apartment with a man she had met on Tinder (Tapaleao & Schoultz, 2016). The Shopkeepers Fight Back (Strongman, 2016) article also has a negative view on teens and young offenders who have been targeting stores selling cigarettes. The article recorded University of Canterbury criminologist Professor Greg Newbold describing the offenders as, “desperate young losers who haven’t thought about the consequences of what they’re doing which are horrific compared to the benefits of taking home some cash and a few packets of cigarettes” (Strongman, 2016, p. A3). Likewise, the Teen Rampages Through Hospital (Wade, 2016) article takes a negative view on a teenager who overpowered a

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