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'violent Assaults Hit Million Mark' (Times 21 July 2005).

2054 words - 8 pages

To review these 'remarks' printed in the papers and to consider taking media and statistical representations of crime at face value, it may be wise to start by examining the definition of crime and building up a picture to be able to contemplate the processes associated with how crimes are reported and recorded and to whom. The structures in place for understanding statistics and the problems related in correlating these administrative methods.One of the fundamental problems with the ideology of crime is, its definition and how it constitutes an infringement against the norms and rules of the community, or a breach of the criminal law. Tappan (1947, p.100) suggests that crime is a deliberate act in contravention of the criminal law. This is referred to as the black letter law approach due to the fact that, before a misdemeanour can be a criminal act, the process must go through the courts and be judged as a crime. Often represented in the bounds of sectional interests both within the legislature where it is drafted and in society generally. Interestingly, up until the early 1800s there were few offences on the statute book in England, (Muncie and McLaughlin, 2002) although many of them concerning property offences such as stealing or poaching, was a clear reflection of the particular interests of those who held and operated political power. Resulting in questions of who composed the necessary standards, and which norms or rules are governed, and where decisions about what is legal and what is illegal are made consciously by people in authority in the legal profession and the government.Examples include moral as well as legal judgements with regard to an individual's behaviour. Similarly, for example, the history of most criminal justice systems of the twentieth century has been that law has gradually relaxed controls on matters of morality (such as divorce, homosexuality, contraception, abortion), not least because of the difficulty of finding shared aims in increasingly dynamic societies.Deviance is breaking social norms, (Simmons, 1969. p.3) however social norms are changeable over time and in different cultures and they evolve as a social process rather than a decision making process by people in authority. The Audit Commission (1999) maintains that the officially permitted characterisation of crime only denotes the tip of the iceberg and may challenge public well-being and security.Consequently, the media, can have the monopoly when it comes to 'educating' the public. Nowadays, crime consitutes a large proportion of the news espicially in the newspapers, studies have revealled that some or most of the press use a stretch of imgination or distort the findings. Moral panic is provoked to gain media attention. Chibnall (1977, p,77) suggests that there are five sets of informal rules which govern modern journalism. These are visible and spectacular acts, sexual or politiacl connotations, graphic presentation, individual pathology and deterrence...

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