Crime in the Media
Spend 1-2 days noting images of crime in the media on television and/or in movies. Watch the nightly news, television programs, movies, and read newspaper articles (online or in print). Keep a journal of what types of crimes are reported, discussed or shown, who are the perpetrators of the crime (gender, race, ethnicity, age, social class), who are the victims of the crime (gender, race, ethnicity, age, social class), and how is the crime handled by law enforcement. Note the overall message about crime in society that you receive from these images.
Go to the website for the Bureau of Justice Statistics at www.bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov. Click on the subheading, “Crime Type,” at the left side of the page. Read through the summaries for each crime type, noting major themes and trends.
Write a 500 word essay describing your findings from the media analysis and comparing these media images with the information you found on the website for the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Be sure to discuss, differences between media images about crime and realities based on national statistics. What information from the website surprised you? What is your overall reaction about this information? Why do you think the media portrays crime as increasing, when national numbers show that violent crime has been decreasing since 1994?