Comparing crime 'myths' and 'facts'

Essay by missdvsCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2006

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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...