CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

De Silva on Media Consumption and Fear of Crime

Banuka De Silva (General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University) has posted The Relationship between Media Consumption and Fear of Crime: A Comprehensive Review ((2023). JIB Journal., 11(1), 56–62) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This review comprehensively analyses the relationship between media consumption and fear of crime. Most reviewed studies indicate a positive correlation between media consumption and fear of crime, which can be attributed to the media’s tendency to focus on sensationalised and dramatic crimes and the media’s effect on individuals’ perceptions of reality. However, several studies have found a negative correlation, possibly explained by desensitisation, and heightened awareness among media consumers. Media literacy programmes and responsible reporting are critical to mitigate the public’s fear of crime. By promoting media literacy, individuals can better understand the prevalence of crime and recognise the sensationalised nature of media coverage of crime. Media organisations must report crime-related news accurately and objectively, without exaggerating events, to promote a less distorted view of crime in society. The systematic approach employed in this review and the specific search strategy provides a comprehensive and trustworthy overview of the existing research on the relationship between media consumption and fear of crime, despite the limitations of the search strategy. Additional research is needed to understand better the underlying mechanisms and contextual factors that can influence the relationship. Nonetheless, this analysis offers valuable insights into the effect of media consumption on public perceptions of crime and the resulting implications for public safety. Ultimately, media organisations and individuals must take a responsible approach to consume and reporting crime-related news to promote a more accurate and less distorted view of crime in society.

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