Discuss how fear of crime can affect society. You must also explain the role of spin and ideology?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The media's depiction of crime can affect social prejudices. There are those who argue that part of the disproportionate sentencing regarding individuals who used crack cocaine versus its powdered counterpart was due in large part to the media depiction of both.  Crack cocaine was depicted as a drug used predominantly in urban centers, and shown to be a drug of choice used mostly by people of color.  This was in stark contrast to the depiction of cocaine drug use in the suburbs and with individuals whom would be considered "white collar."  In this particular example, the media's depiction of two different types of drug use led to a social perception which demanded punitive measures against drug use. Some thought it interesting that users of crack cocaine were sentenced differently than those who used the powdered version of the drug.  The fear of crime and its specific elements that are heightened by media depiction can impact how individuals call for action and how that action is delivered.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The fear of crime (which is often helped along by the media) can affect society quite deeply.  Perhaps most importantly, fear of crime makes people more likely to vote for people and policies that will (they think) reduce their fear.  These policies (you can argue) help to overfill our prisons and to make those prisons harsher places that do not help rehabilitate people.

So, what I'm saying is that fear of crime makes people support harsher anti-crime policies that may not be our best hope for helping the poor and preventing more crime in the future.

I don't think ideology plays much of a role here.  The reason the media feeds our fear of crime is profit, not ideology.  Crime stories sell -- they get good ratings on TV.  This is because they're easy to understand and they are catchy.

Because crime stories make for good TV, we see more of them.  Because we see more of them, we worry about crime more than we otherwise would.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The fear of crime is prevalent and can be a powerful force in society. A large scale example would be the fear of weapons of mass destruction. In the end, there were none, but the fear of this caused people to act. This action most definitely affected society. There are also many other smaller examples. The media blitz of the swine flu last year caused many people to stop traveling. This cost many airlines a lot of money. Also the media made it seem like it was from Mexico, when in fact there were more confirmed cases elsewhere. Fear can cause people to do or not do many things. It is a powerful mover in society. As for ideology, this refers to the people that want to use fear to control people. It can be people in power or people in media, etc.

mkcapen1 | Student

Fear of crime affects different people in different ways but overall most people in a society learn from the media what they should fear.  For example; with the recent advancement of the Internet using a debit card online has become a way for new era crooks to steal from people and to obtain their identity.  This has resulted in an increase in insurance programs that assist people should this happen to them.  Violence in the school systems has increased resulting in the intervention of drug dogs and metal detectors in schools.  Parents are no longer comfortable sending their children to school that were once considered a safe haven for students.

Home invasion crimes have particularly had an effect on the elderly.  Sales for home warning and protection systems have increased and older adults are more apprehensive about going into the community alone.

People are generally more frightened than they were 40 years ago.  The media feeds into people’s fears because people like to watch shows that show crime and murder.  Police shows, forensic science shows, and news presentations of the shows most frequently watched.

If a person is arrested and has a joint or pills on him/her the media tends to spin the story as a drug related crime.

Ideology means;

“A system of social beliefs: a closely organized system of beliefs, values, and ideas forming the basis of a society.”

Society has broken down significantly since the advancement of the media.  If the media is reflective of the state that American society is in, then there is a great reason to fear.  However, there are still those who believe that the American dream is possible despite the calamity presented in the media.