A Frank Writing on Frank Furedi
Crimes against children, like kidnapping and murder, are serious problems in the US and the UK. However, Culture of Fear author Frank Furedi argues in his book that the concern over crime against children in the US and the UK is overblown. In a brief passage, Furedi downplays kidnappings in the US, and child murders in the UK. Furedi uses convenient statistics to make a flimsy argument on why reactions to these issues take on "panic-like proportions" (Furedi 24). However, much of the evidence that Furedi uses to support his claims is either out-of-date, selective, or even false. The bulk of Furedi's book was published in 1997, and the book was last revised in 2002, as of this writing. Therefore, much of the information available to Furedi at the time his book was first written in 1997 may not apply to modern times, or Furedi may not have adequately updated his research regarding his 2002 revisions to Culture of Fear. At any rate, it helps to first read Furedi's statement on crime against children in its full context. Furedi writes:
"Anxieties regarding the threat of crime against children often take on panic-like proportions. In the USA, where FBI statistics indicate that fewer than 100 children a year are kidnapped by strangers, the public concern with child abduction is pervasive. [...] The same inflated sense of danger prevails in the UK. Many parents do not believe that, over the years, the number of children murdered by strangers has remained fairly static. On average it has been five per year. A few highly publicized child murders have helped shaped the impression of such tragedies 'could happen to every child'" (Furedi 24).
Furedi's thesis for the paragraph was that "Anxieties regarding the threat of crime against children often take on panic-like proportions" (24). Furedi introduced a very broad, general topic of crime against children. Crimes against children may include assault, rape, neglect, and any other imaginable crime that can be committed against any child. However, Furedi failed to take these crimes into consideration, and instead focused on only two crimes: kidnapping, and the murder of children. Furedi's very narrow focus on only two specific types of crime downplays the general concern towards all types of crime against children. However, since Furedi focused only on kidnappings and child murder, then so will this paper.
Furedi first supports his thesis with the claim that "In the USA, where FBI statistics indicate that fewer than 100 children a year are kidnapped by strangers, the public concern with child abduction is pervasive" (24). This Furedi quote, on its own, is hard to verify. There is a good reason for this. In a June 2000 report by the Juvenile Justice Bulletin, "Confusion about kidnaping [sic] has been exacerbated by the absence of reliable statistics about the crime. Kidnaping is not one of the crimes included in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) national...