do you think media reporting deters crime, or does it make it worse

United States
August 18, 2009 8:19am CST
Our local newspaper is full of garbage...crimes and arrests are reported throughout every page, and in full detail - persons names, crimes they commit, what they actually did - you have to look pretty hard to find something good that they reported on. Some say that this type of reporting alerts the public to the bad guys so everyone can watch out for them, public awareness they call it, which I think is garbage. I wouldn't know who these people are just by their names, and if I did, I wouldn't remember what they did 6 months from now. Could it be that sensationalizing these crimes in the headlines is actually desensationalizing them? I don't see crimes being lowered because of public awareness. Is it possible that hearing of so many of them has become such a norm that people who commit these crimes are no longer embarrassed to see their names in print, when every arrests is printed anyway. No big deal. And what about the law abiding father who screwed up one time, by having just one two many drinks at a party, and gets stopped for drunk driving...should his reputation get ruined from that one incident? You can't have a loud argument anymore in your own home, because now you're in the paper for disturbing the peace. What about the families of these "bad guys"...should they have to take the heat, lower their head in public, because some member of their family is splattered all over the newspaper; it could be that they still love that father, son, daughter, or mother - no matter what they did. What about the person who has committed the crime - are they able to better themselves when they come out of jail, when everyone knows what they did - and criminal background checks are now made just to get a job. What do you think? Has crime gone down because of this? Do you read these articles in your newspaper? Is the arrest section of the paper, the first thing you go to? Does this kind of reporting actually sell papers? Or would you simply like to see more good things being reported on, rather than who got arrested and when?
1 person likes this
6 responses
@machizmo (279)
• United States
19 Aug 09
I think the news media sensationalizes crime. It makes criminals into celebrities. It also sometimes takes emphasis off of the victim and put its on the the one that has done the victimizing.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19924)
• United States
19 Aug 09
Very true...and the America public eats it up...or it wouldn't work so well.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Aug 09
You are right! But as long as we continue to read such garbage, it will continue.
@debrakcarey (19924)
• United States
20 Aug 09
It is human nature to want to know the gorey details. It would take a complete overhaul of a person's nature to NOT want to know. If you can accomplish that within yourself...MORE POWER to you! I know when it concerns my home town, or people I know, or causes I care about...I am very curious. I don't like it that most times...when the news involves people I know, and I can see the story that is printed isn't true...or is slanted...it makes me mad and I do all I can to counter it. Perhaps that's what is needed. Citizens to start speaking out about truth and integrity! That would do alot to stop the sensationalism of the press.
1 person likes this
@jshekhar (1563)
• India
19 Aug 09
Even we get a lot of crime stories in newspapers here but they are limited to the particular page assigned for city news. Unless something very serious happens, that news doesn't feature on the front page so I think it is fine, as it is the newspapers duty to report crimes. I can't really say that it's helping the criminals because it mobilizes and alerts the police force. Thus, if anything, it reduces the crime rate a bit and makes the citizens more aware.
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@debrakcarey (19924)
• United States
23 Aug 09
As long as the get the facts straight. But when they start leaving out pertinent facts or changing the facts to suit them....then all the public is aware of...is lies.
1 person likes this
@dbabcook (390)
• United States
18 Aug 09
This can go either way but in my opinion I believe that there are a lot of times where when crimes are reported, especially when the perp gets away with it, it gives other individuals ideas of how easy it could be to commit a crime and be able to get away with it. There are certain crimes inwhich I do believe should be announced so that the public is aware, such as crimes to children or other individuals. These should be made aware to the public so they can be prepared/aware of the fact that it is happening and be able to be on their guard. Like I said, this is just my personal opinion for what it is worth.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Aug 09
I agree with you in all that you said, however, I wonder how those who are reported against are going to better themselves after their name has been splashed all over the paper. It seems that there should be a better way.
@picjim (3003)
• India
18 Aug 09
I agree with the views that you have put forward.Media and pictures sensationalize crime.We the people should also be spared of the morbid details of crime committed by such individuals.A mere mention of the offence committed would suffice.There are so many good and positive things like the selfless service of doctors and others who contribute their mite to the society at large which should be reported.Such acts will instill in the younger lot a positive attitude which helps everyone.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Aug 09
I agree with you 100%. But until we stop buying these newspapers or listening to the news, this will never stop.
• United States
18 Aug 09
I am not sure if seeing news about crime would cause no crime. To be honest I feel it might cause more crime. The reason I say this is because if someone that was thinking of doing a crime like lets say fro example robbing a bank. If they see that someone got away with it than more than likely they might take the risk too. See its like this if that guy or girl can get away with it so can I. But I also believe that people make their choices on their own but can be inflenced easily. I read articles mainly online and for me I look at this way we need to be informed but we also need to take into account if people are made aware of something there is always a risk of someone wanting to attempt it again. Take care and I think this was a awesome discussion happy mylotting as well.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Aug 09
I agree with you...It doesn't deter crime, and instead, it seems to have caused more. And all they are doing is destroying the families of those who committed the crime.
@sid556 (31006)
• United States
18 Aug 09
I don't see how reporting crimes can actually limit crime. I do think that in the case of unsolved crimes that sometimes it can actually hinder the police investigation. Sometimes they give out details that alert the public but also the criminal and give him a chance to cover his tracks better. On the flip side....reporting some of these crimes does alert the public to be more cautious and aware of their surroundings. We have recently had a rash of muggings on a nearby remote bike trail. A description of the guy, including a distinct tatoo was given. I would never walk on that path or allow my daughter to alone anyway but so many do. I've walked it with a friend and seen so many elderly people walking alone....such news might make them think twice. Also someone out there must know who this person is....someone may alert the police to stop it before another person is hurt. I just watched on the news 5 mins ago, a surveillance on a local burglary. I am 99% certain of who the 2 men are that are breaking into these places. Once they have the criminal in custody....I don't see the point in splashing the names all over. Anyone close to these people, already knows what is going on and doesn't need to see it in the news. Unless they are a danger to the community then I don't see the point in it. Like you mentioned....the family suffers from the publicity as well. When my daughter got in trouble a few years back, the put her picture on the front page. So many people came and asked me what was going on. It was a tough time for us as a family and I did not care to talk about it to just anyone & everyone. Turned out her charges got dropped as she was not involved in the crime but her boyfriend acted alone. By then, the damage was already done.
• United States
18 Aug 09
I totally agree....I have no problem with reporting of crimes, as much as I am against all the gory details that they feel they have to print. However, what you mentioned about your daughter is the exact thing that I am against. Printing that someone allegedly committed a crime, and turning out that they were innocent, is deplorable. How dare they put a picture of someone in the paper when they don't even know if they were guilty of that crime yet. Those kinds of reporting should be stopped. Many years ago, crimes that were committed were hushed, you never heard about them, yet crime was not so prevalent then. I almost think that we should be going back to those days.