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Fear Of Crime In Our Society

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Even though crime rates today are as low as they have been in 30 years, a majority of Americans feel as though they are going to be the next victim of a crime. There are many causes and antagonizers in our society today that perpetuates this ever growing fear among us. One of the biggest reasons is that the media over reports on crime and violence and under reports on stories that show good samaritans and acts of kindness. Also, depending on the subculture that people live in, they feel vulnerable to crime for various different reasons. In their advertising campaigns, security companies are starting to make people feel like they are not even safe in their own homes. Lastly, people are poorly informed on crime statistics and do not lookin into any numbers that they hear to see if they are in fact, right. These facts are demonstrated across the United States no matter what part of the country or which end of a city you go to.


The media is mostly to blame for today's fear of crime. When you watch the previews for the evening news, you will most likely see something about a murder or another violent crime. You will never hear about the man who helped the 90 year old woman change her flat tire. There is an adage that is still used by many newspaper editors. ?If it bleeds, it leads,? has been the motivation behind many news stories. Thus making reporters seek out the bad news instead of the good news. Many news announcers when they are about to announce the next segment, you will hear, ?The Masked Bandit burglurizes another house and you could be next.? This ?you could be next? campaign that a majority of the news stations use instills fear in us and has us feeling like we will be next, when in fact, the probability of this happening to you is VERY low. The media wants you to be afraid because they know you will ?stay tuned? to hear how you can prevent it from happening to you. The media is the root of societie's fear of crime.


In every part of the country, people feel vulnerable to different types of crime for various different reasons. It doesn't matter where you live, you will always have some sort of crime to be afraid of, whether it is the neighbor kid messing up your garden or you were robbed while coming home from the local supermarket. There can be many reasons for this vulnerable feeling. In many places it is because there is not a strong police presence or because you have never talked to the officers that patrol your streets. There is a good reason that there is not a strong police presence in certain areas and it boils down to the fact that there is very little crime. In other areas, people have a legitimate reason to feel vulnerable. Maybe it is because crime really does happen on a daily basis or there are gang members that roam your street. It is your neighborhood and you chose to move there and you have the choice to stay there or not. When you feel vulnerable, that causes a fear and when you a afraid, you start to panic and give in to the public pressure that you will be the next victim of a crime.


Security companies also contribute to the ever growing fear of crime in the United States. I moved into a new housing development about a month ago. Within a week I had a salesman from a security company knock on my door. The first words out of his mount were, ?You are not safe in your own home.? He then asked me if he could give a demonstration. When I agreed he told me to close the door and lock it. After a couple of seconds, he had picked the lock and reopened the door. After that, he wanted to discuss pricing to install a new security system. Now I know that I live in a safe neighborhood because it is a guard gated community. I also did my reasearch on crime rates for my area before I moved which showed little or no crime within a 10 mile radius. However, the salesman tried to make me afraid of crime and in order to sell me a secuirity system. That is how security companies are becoming all across the country. They want to instill a fear in you so that you will come running to them for a burgler alarm. This is how they sell their alarm systems. Advertising in this way just makes people more afraid that they will be next.


People are also misinformed or do not look at the numbers realistically when they are told about crime, which makes them fear it even more. When all they hear is that the neighbor down the street was burglarized of her jewelry, they immediately fear for they own property and stop trusting close neighbors. What they did not hear however is that the jewel thief was her son who needed to sell the jewelry for money. When you dont hear the whole story, it can cause you to fear for no valid reason. When people are given a statistic by someone that states 5 out of 10 households were burglarized last year, they do not ask, they just become afraid. They do not know that this statistic is onbly true for downtown Los Angeles and was limited to only one square block. This kind of misinformation, while it is not damaging in any real way, causes fear in safe neighborhoods where there really is no chance of anything criminal happening.


There are many aspects of our culture that causes us to fear crime. It is also in our nature to fear crime, because honestly, who wants to be the next victim of a robbery or murder? However this fear is overstated because hard statistics show that crime across America has been falling over the last thirty years. If we keep putting too much fear into crime it will consume us and soon we will not even trust our own family. Crime is not as big of a problem as people would think.

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