If there is one thing Australian society has an abundance of, it is images and opinions about crime. It is the central theme running through many forms of communication in the modern society. Whether the issue of crime is, drug-related, violent, juvenile, child abductions, serial killers, youth gangs, or crimes against the elderly, a public consensus exists that crime is rampant, dangerous and threatening to explode.
Crime-wise, Australia is comparatively a safe place to live, though often the perception of crime is much higher.There is a widespread concern that the level and type of crime reported in the media presents a distorted view of the real level of crime in the community. The reality of crime has been manipulated and blanketed by a constructed reality, where the more isolated and rare incidents weave a tapestry of fear, panic and hysteria. This leads to prejudice towards, and stereotyping of certain groups, individuals becoming isolated from the community through fear of crime and the imposition of draconian measures to fight crime.
Crime is seen as deviant behaviour that violates prevailing norms which are the cultural standards prescribing how humans ought to behave normally. This violation of a law;-offences against the person, violent offences, sexual offences and offences against property, causes injury to the public or an individual and a term in jail or prison, and/or a fine are possible penalties.#
The media play an indispensable role in modern life, and are considered amongst the most powerful and inaccurate sources of social information, education and entertainment. Our mass media is an electronic (TV, film, video, videogames, internet) visually dominated media with print (newspaper, magazine) and audio (radio, music) being secondary in social impact. Images have more inaccurate value than other media content, cultivating a view of the world as a mean and scary place, creating moral panic by depicting crime in a sensationalist format.
The media serve to stimulate our interest in crime. Newspapers detail the exploits of criminals, while television news and crime dramas focus on crimes. The media manipulates society by looping, where events and information are repeatedly cycled and recycled through the media into the culture to re-emerge in new context in different media, creating a blur of fact and fiction. People come to believe fictional events are real and that real events didn’t happen. Studies have shown that commercial TV was the most inaccurate source of media for obtaining news and information. Respondents who rely on the Internet sites (44%) and ABC/SBS TV (34%)have the most accurate understanding of crime compared commercial TV (20%).#
The extracts of reality the media create and market, whether in entertainment or news, influence the public view by creating a social construction of reality. Despite the need for caution and the constraints of science, much evidence indicates that the crime...