Introduction:
This report will talk about how media representation, displays crime and
certain types of crime to the public. Firstly, media includes every type of broadcasting
and narrowcasting media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, mail,
billboards, telephone and the internet. Secondly, a
crime is an offence that effects community, laws and punishment, most commonly
known by a way of fine or imprisonment.  When the two are in place
together by mass media, it can have an effect on individuals, how they perceive
crime and the type of crime happening around them.  

Crime stories and representations are, and have always been a popular focus of
the mass media, as it happens daily and effects the lives of many. With
newspapers, roughly committing 30 per cent of their coverage and entertainment
to crime. When looking into the public’s view of this mass production, it can
have its negative results, as it can give a distorted view of crime and produce
an exaggerating and over-representation of certain crimes. Thus, then can lead
to moral panic within the public and community, as almost all the crimes carry
a vast amount of weight behind the story. Causing the reader to feel scared and
anxious about the crimes happening around them and hope that they don’t become
victims themselves.

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Mass media can scare the public and give them a fear of crime, as the public gets information from the media. This,
for example can isolate but not limited to, non-whites, older generations,
woman and also withhold victimisation experiences. In addition, effecting
characteristics within an individual such as sex, age, race/ethnicity and prior
victimisation can be involved with fear. Connections for fear of crime have led
to reduced neighbourhood interaction, opting to stay indoors more often and
withdrawing from social activities, which can lead to physical and
psychological health. “Individuals receive most of their information about
crime from media content” (Intravia and Wolf, 2017). This fear stems from frequently
watching the news (with crime stories involved), exposure to violent
entertainment programmes and games, can lead to a cultivation of a fear of
crime. Media representation therefore influences
what people believe about crime, regardless of whether these stories presented
are true or not.

When looking at the public narrative of media and crime, the public and viewers
seem to almost glamorise crime and enjoy watching crime stories presented on
the media. This can be from a documentary, box set series or film. The media entertainment
source will only create programmes like this, if they are being watched and
enjoyed by the public. These series are on criminals and violent acts in the
passed and in some way or another are being praised, or deemed as ‘cool’. For
example, take the recent Peaky Blinders series on BBC2, this media representation
can cause violence. “sewing razor blades into
the peaks of their flat caps, so that they could blind rival gangsters by
headbutting them.” (Corcoran, 2013).
Programmes such as these create violence within entertainment, with then people
thinking it might be fine to commit crimes like these as they are shown to a
global level of entertainment.

The types of crimes reported plays a serious factor with how the public will
react to mass media. As there are thousands of crimes happening per day, it is
near impossible to report every crime that happens, so only that which are
newsworthy is published. “A single rape may make
the local newspaper, but a serial rapist might become a national story.” (Courtauld,
2014). Crime becomes newsworthy when it can be presented as serious, random and
unpredictable enough so that a moral panic occurs in the sense that public get
scared of becoming a victim’s themselves.

Main body:
Police officers can utilise crime from the media, to help with their jobs daily
and investigations of crime. The media can give police officers access to the
public, and vice versa. Due to the increasing amount of digital technology
improvements, social media productions such as Twitter, Facebook and other
social network platforms, along side the already strong connecting
communications, like calls and emails. Can allow the police and public to
communicate in real time about incidents and events happening; leading to it,
being easier to report crime and resold crime. Police officers can also use the
media to manipulate who their true identity for investigation reasons. “Police look at what information is public and
sometimes create fake online identities to befriend suspects and view their
private information.” (Kelly, 2012)

Police officers can also utilise the media, as they embrace the media as a
fighting tool. For example, police officers urge people to come forward who
have information about a crime, which is made available via word of mouth but
also on any media platform, such as social media, email and phone calls. Police
officers can also release statements to the media about a crime, this can
produce information out, with also the return of provoking information back
from the public trough the media. They also can use the media as a fighting
tool, to urge the release of CCTV footage to help with an investigation. “111,608
offences in the 5 years between 2011 and 2015—45.3% of all crimes recorded by
BTP. CCTV was classified as being useful in 72,390
investigations—29.4% of all recorded crimes and 64.9% of crimes for which CCTV
was available.” (Ashby, 2017).

Police officers do also approach media and crime
in a negative way, but on the other hand possibly an effective way. Police have
been known for releasing information rather late to when a crime was committed.
Furthermore, many of these crimes aren’t published to the media at all. In June 2009, they released information about 76
crimes – less than 1% of the total of 7,951 cases (Green, 2009). When
relating back to the first outline of the topic in this report. Police officers
may not release information to the media, to help aid the fear of crime. Not releasing
the crime stories reduces fear of crime levels, lowers victimisation levels and
isolation of race within a community. If police officers reduce the fear of
crime by not releasing the stories to the media, this can then lead to the
media not getting hold of the information, then not being able to go on further
to over-exaggerate a story. This then leads to reducing the levels of moral
panic.  

Looking at a politician professional and the police force on the media and
crime. In 2005, David Cameron (Former Prime Insister) and the London MET Police
came to an agreement to introduced a zero tolerance policy “David Cameron today
tells the police to take a “zero
tolerance”” (Hennessy, 2011). This a policy to crack down on crime
saying that not enough actions have been taken against it. This would allow the
approach to media and crime to reduce as the zero tolerance policing would prevent
more crimes, which can then relate to a media story being produced.

The criminological perspective differs from public narrative because its more
complex, methods are used to find a base layer, then allowing it to become easier
to discover the truth. It is complex as there is way more structure to their
understanding, there needs to be a base value and ideas which sit with the
media for creating a story which needs structure for it to become newsworthy.  

Jewkens (2004) has their own structured opinion and method on what is considered
‘newsworthy’. Therefore has come up with a structure of how the newspapers and
mass media should report a story. Threshold, public events have to meet an
ordered and certain level of perceived important in order to be considered
newsworthy. Predictability, talks about an event has to be unexpected, extraordinary
and rare, giving the new story novelty value. Simplification, events need to simplified
in order for the consumer to understand it greater, crime news, which is
immediate or sudden, are likely to be reported as the meaning is easily
consumed. Individualism talks about how crime stories needs to have individual
responses usually cultural and political. Risk: Serious offences such as rape,
assault and sexual assault and murder, will have a known connection with the
victim. The idea of risk is that they show no concern for the victim and
victimising them as, for example show pictures of the person who committed the
crime to thousands of people. Sex, producers over report crime of sexual nature
and conduct, this leading to a distortion for the overall picture of crime and
how the public consume it and creating a fear of women becoming a victim.
Media will always get a audience with reports of a crime from a celebrity or
high status person. Proximity looks into the idea of location. Spatial proximity
looks at the how close an event is to a certain geographical location and
cultural proximity is how relevant it will be to the audience. Violence creates
drama within a story, it gives a story, graphic back up to try to entice a
reader, which could not be seen, as morally correct in some respects. Spectacle
or graphic imagery is the idea whether a story is deemed ‘real’ or ‘fake’,
usually in television news. Children is a method used for any offence, but
deemed more newsworthy if children are involved, whether as a victim or
offender. Conservative ideology and political diversion is use broadly for the right
wing, for crime they can add emphasis, voicing support for police and pushing
for prison and tougher criminal justice system.

Furthermore, from a criminology perspective, qualitative research would act as
a base, for trying to resolve the solution. Qualitative research is used to
gather an understanding of underlying reasons, motivations and opinions. It
will provide an insight to the problem. These problems can occur through social
construction, behaviour issues becomes a crime, as it is a human experience
cultivated by society. Quantative research can be put in place to understand
the media and crime, if it then carries violence and fear within it. Collection
research such as questionnaires, structured interviews and observations.

To conclude, the media portrays crime in a negative way, crime stories is
promoted to be produced by the media as this creates a story allows the mass
media to make money from the entertainment. Whether these stories are true or
over exaggerated, this still can cause moral panic, creating a fear within a
community of people. Police and Politicians try to utilise the media by using
it to produce stories and their new policies to help aid moral panic, the fear
of crime and becoming a victim. But can have their negative effects against them,
for example not releasing crimes, which leads to the media creating a story
about the Police. Mass media and Police can use criminologists theories and
methods to help aid the way that they approach certain stories of crime within
the media. As every crime can’t be produced, using a criminologist’s theory can
help to show what is actually newsworthy and not to be over exaggerated.    

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