Media consumption and public attitudes toward crime and justice: the relationship between fear of crime, punitive attitudes, and perceived police effectiveness

 

Author(s)Dowler, Kenneth
Title Media consumption and public attitudes toward crime and justice: the relationship between fear of crime, punitive attitudes, and perceived police effectiveness
Source Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture,Spring/Summer 2003, Vol. 10, Issue 2, pp109-126
Date 2003
Document type Journal article
Coverage USA
URL http://www.albany.edu/scj/jcjpc/vol10is2/dowler.pdf
Summary In this paper the author examines the influence of media consumption on fear of crime, punitive attitudes and perceived police effectiveness. The sample used was derived from the 1995 National Opinion Survey on Crime and Justice (NOSCJ). The survey examines a number of issues, including attitude towards courts, police drug laws, gun control and prisons. In addition to basic demographics, NOSCJ captures information about hours of television viewing, crime show viewing and source of crime news. The study showed that regular viewers of crime shows are more likely to fear crime but the author advises the strength of this finding is minimal. There are a number of limitations to the study such as the type of crime show being viewed is unknown and in using data related to television hours watched, there is no way of determining what type of programs are being watched. The author discusses how an overemphasis on crimes of violence on television and portraying offenders in stereotypical ways can influence viewers' perceptions of the criminal justice system. The author concludes by suggesting that the majority of the public's knowledge about crime and justice is formed through media consumption.
Keywords Criminal justice system; media influence; fear of crime.
Topic

Criminal justice system