Crime and the media part 2: Has TV changed the way we see the world?

Following on from our last post on newspapers and crime perceptions, OnTheBeat digs up the data on TV and finds out how much the news channel YOU choose affects your fear of crime.

And if you’re wondering why the media seems to affect us so much, check out our upcoming final post in the series.

On to good old telly now, and BEFORE YOU LOOK AT THE GRAPH, try and have a think- which news channel do you think has viewers that are the most worried about crime?

Before I looked, I thought that as a public service broadcaster, with the strict rules and guidelines it has to follow, viewers of the BBC would think there was less crime than anyone else.

Not so, however. It’s actually people who watch Channel 4, out of all the main UK news channels, who have the least worry about crime being on the up. Perhaps this is due to more of a focus on foreign news and analysis, or maybe it’s a generational thing- Channel 4 News has a higher proportion of viewers aged 16-34 than any other terrestrial news channel (Source: BARB, via Channel 4 News website)

Data from ONS Crime in England and Wales, 2010/11

I asked the Channel 4 News presenters for their thoughts on why this might be. Krishan Guru-Murthy gives the credit to viewers themselves, but wouldn’t give away much more than that:

So there you have it- nothing to do with the show itself. ITV News, on the other hand, has the most viewers who think that crime is rising– just under 20% more than Channel 4. This is particularly interesting seeing as these are the two programmes both made by ITN- it’s the content of the shows themselves that’s different.

News viewers- what are your thoughts? Why do viewers of some channels think there’s more crime than others, when all broadcasters have the same duty to be impartial?

And finally- perhaps you lament the rise of TV, think that everyone has square eyes nowadays and that watching too much TV changes the way you see the world. Well, in some ways, you’d be rightpeople who watch more TV are more likely to think that crime rates are rising than those who watch little or none, as shown below:

Data from ONS Crime in England and Wales, 2010/11

PCSOs and Police Officers- what do you think? Have you noticed a change in people’s fear about crime since TV became popular? Are people more afraid now than they used to be?

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