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Comparing Crime 'myths' And 'facts' Essay

1615 words - 6 pages

There is little consensus about the definition of "crime". The media advertises crime by what acts are reacted to by the police and courts whereas a lawyer sees crime as acts that have been defined as crimes by the written law. A myth can be defined as a belief or story that has been associated with an occurrence, so, crime myths are beliefs about crime not supported by appropriate statistics or research. Therefore, crime facts are what criminal acts are actually happening revealed by evidence. Juvenile crime myths are to be used in this essay to compare and contrast crime myths and facts in four discussions by focusing particularly on juvenile crime.This report begins by examining the developments and motivations of myths produced by the media and the government and then secondly contrasting this with the developments and motivations of crime facts produced from various measures to show resemblances in accuracy. Next, as a result from the above analysis, it will be argued that majority of juvenile crime is non-violent, dispelling the media created myth that all juvenile crime is violent. Lastly, drawing on statistics, it will be proven that juvenile crime is not on the rise regardless of the sudden focus in juvenile crime today by the media. It is concluded that juvenile crime rates are relatively stable and the best way to get a comprehensive outlook on crime is through statistical research rather than succumbing to the medias 'representations' of crime.The first point of discussion is that the media is a huge perpetuator of crime myths and fallacies creating trend stories because sensationalism sells. The media and other contributing factors such as the government select our crime problems for us and focus our attention on social issues (Kappeler, 2003). Newspapers, television, radio and the Internet together misrepresent crime by dramatising particular crime events, rarely based on factual evidence and usually focused on certain groups of people and locations, affecting the selected residents or age groups. This is a generalised perception of crime causing the community to have a similar outlook. Evidence of these arguments is substantiated after four nights of rioting by youths that occurred in Macquarie Fields of western Sydney, in February. Boyle (2005) states that residents were reportedly "angry with the media because of the spin that is being put on the situation" and that reporters were "denigrating Macquarie Fields" and other Macquarie Fields youths. This affair led to a chain of media stories focusing on youth crime in all states causing social concern and unnecessary fear amongst the public. While the media is a perpetuator, Kappeler continues to argue that the government also assists in the creation of crime myths to ensure that society maintains its perceptions of criminals and the criminal justice system and secures their interests. While media is the main purpetuator, the government also co-operates to publicise social problems,...

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