January 30 2008 Criminology

January 30 2008 Criminology - January 30, 2008 Criminology...

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January 30, 2008 Criminology Lecture Crime Statistics (continued) Crime Statistics o Homicide rates, because they are most accurately reported, are used as trend indicators for crime in past years o Crime rates doubled during the 1960’s and 1980’s (crack/cocaine epidemic) o Property crimes have gone down since the 1970’s (see graphs from handout) o Early 90’s show a big increase in crimes committed with firearms which in turn showed why there was an increase in violent crimes during that time o Juveniles accounted for a large chunk of the increase in violent crimes in late 80’s and early 90’s (a huge majority under the age of 25) Crime and the Media o Agenda Setting – Are politicians and the media: A. just responding to actual crime rates? (media increases discussion of crime as crime rates increase) B. just responding to public concern about crime (politicians and media are giving the public what they want) C. actually creating public concern about crime? (writing stories about crime and showing crimes on tv regardless of whether or not crimes are actually increasing or not—coverage is) Examples: Public concern over “street crime” during the 1960’s and 70’s o “street crime” – catch-all phrase for social disorder o Between 1968-69 – a big increase in people asserting that crime is the biggest problem in the U.S. (a smaller increase in 1970-71); why—we had big increases in crime over those years but the total crime rate during these years was going up steadily (not spiking like it was shown on the public concern graph) o Media coverage of crime also showed a large increase during the years of 68-69 and again in 70- 71 (matches graph of public concern); suggests agenda setting with regards to public concern o Political crime talk shows sharp increases during
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January 30 2008 Criminology - January 30, 2008 Criminology...

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