Media as a cause of crime

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  • The Media as a Cause of Crime
    • Ways it may cause crime:
      • Imitation - providing deviant role models
      • Arousal - through viewing violent/sexual imagery
      • Desensitisation - repeatedly viewing violence
      • By transmitting knowledge of criminal techniques
      • As a target for crime - theft of TVs
      • Stumlating desires for unaffordable goods
      • Portraying police as incompetent
      • Glamorising offending
    • Fear of crime
      • Media may be distorting public impression of crime & causing unrealistic fear of crime
        • Media exaggerate amount of violent & unusual crime
        • Exaggerate risks of certain groups being victims
      • Research evidence supports the link between media use and fear of crime
        • Gerbner et al found heavy users of TV had higher levels of fear of crime
        • Schelesinger & Tumber (1992)found tabloid readers & heavy TV users expressed greater fear of being a victim
        • However such correlations don't prove that media viewing causes fear
          • Example - it may be those rho are already afraid of going out at night watch more TV due to staying in more
        • Greer & Reiner (29012) note much 'effects' research on media as a cause of crime or fear ignores the meanings viewers give to media violence
    • The media, relative deprivation & crime
      • Alternative approach - consider how media portrayals of 'normal' rather than criminal lifestyle might encourage crime
      • Left realists argue the mass media help increase the sense of relative deprivation among poor & marginalised social groups
      • In todays society - poor groups even have media access - the media present all with images of materialistic 'good life' of leisure, fun & consumer goods as the norm to which they should conform
        • Result is to stimulate relative deprivation & social exclusion felt by marginalised groups who can't afford these groups
        • Merton - pressure to conform to norm can cause deviant behaviour when legitimate means are blocked
    • Cultural Criminology, media & crime
      • Argues the media turn crime itself into the commodity people desire
      • Rather than producing crime to audience , the media encourages them to consume crime
      • Hayward & Young (2012) see late modern society as media saturated where we are immersed in the 'mediascape'
        • There is a blurring between the image & reality of crime so the two are no longer clearly distinct
      • Media & the Commodification of crime
        • Crime & its thrills become commodified
        • Corporations & advertisers use media images of crime to sell products, especially in youth market
        • Crime & deviance becomes a style to be consumed


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