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Is the Nature of Crime in Our Society Accurately Presented by the Media?

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1. Is the nature of crime in our society accurately presented by the media? Discuss.

Like every society, Australia has always had its share of criminal activity, from the founding of our country as a penal colony in the 18th century, bushrangers in the 19th century, underworld violence in the 20th century to recent youth violence on our city streets in the 21st century. In this essay, I will be discussing how the media presents crime in Australian society and how this does not necessarily reflect crime statistics. The media presents us with the idea that the majority of crime in Australia is violent, and it is only getting worse. In contrast, statistics show that Australia’s crime rate has remained relatively steady. In fact, most reported crimes are actually non violent, with the majority of crimes actually being property related. It should also be noted that we are exposed to high levels of media coverage on specific types of crime, for example the “Missing White Woman Syndrome” whilst under reporting on similar occurrences that involve males, and females of different culture and social standings. Lastly, I would like to discuss recent television programs such as Underbelly and true crime films that glamorise the criminal sub-culture which in itself causes the media to report even more on Australia’s underworld, violent crimes and infamous criminal cases.

The media portrays our crime rate as rapidly escalating, however statistics collected by the Australian Institute of Criminology show that this is not the case. The results show that while reported assaults across Australia per 100,000 did increase between 1996-2008, 2008 was the lowest recorded rate of the incidence of assault since 2005. (Australian Institute of Criminology, 2009, p. 6) Homicides in Australia rated at only 1.9 per 100,000 across the country in 1996 – and this statistic includes the 35…...

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