Fear which society and philosophers have contended

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Fear is an emotion, our emotions are based upon our own
and others actions. Fear of crime gives rise to the risk-fear paradox which is
prevalent across all societies, independent of actual pertinent levels of crime
and security.  “Fear of crime can be considered
contagious, because social interaction is the mechanism though which fear is
shared and chronically worried populations are created. Even those that have
never been a victim of crime can be seriously worried about it” (Curiel, 2017).
The media does engender fear of crime; the media’s socially constructed
distorted view of crime does result in higher levels of fear of crime within
populations, despite the fact that these media representations very rarely
reflect or represent the outside world.   An important comparison which should be drawn
in order to answer the question posed in the title is one between research
completed to study the impact/effects which playing violent video games has on
individuals. There is a distinct relationship shared between playing video
games and watching violence on television, this is because both involve
individuals watching depictions of otherwise unrealistic violence taking place
in front of them.  Social media is
another sphere through which through media engenders fear of crime, as fear of
crime is dependent on a number of varying social factors ranging from as race,
age, gender, income, education and marital status; in order to understand
whether fear of crime is engendered by the media or whether it is an inevitable
consequence of living in late modern society, it is very important to take into
account these other factors; in order to produce a complete answer to the

The corruptive
nature of media has been an issue which society and philosophers have contended
with since the early Greek/Roman times. Plato set a precedent for society which
would later unravel into debates on the consequences of watching too much television
and playing violent video games. He set this precedent by clarifying that
certain plays and poetry could negatively impact youth and should therefore be
burned (Ferguson, 2010). In the 1930s social research commissioned on the basis
of links between watching movies and aggressive behaviour (Ferguson, 2010).
This research set a precedent for all future research to come in this topic, in
that it was found that there were lacks of control groups in the studies, as
well as a difficulty in measuring levels of aggression.

Fear of
crime exists outside the realms of societal pretences and instead is a
condition embedded within the human psyche. Levels of crime and security within
any society are obvious predictors for levels of fear of crime, furthermore, predictors
could be factors such as past experiences, demographic factors, and the
perception of insecurity; which as of recently has emerged as a social
problem.  Jean Baudrillard’s theory of
hyperreality is one which will be closely considered in the answering of the
question posed in the title. Fear of crime and hyperreality are associated in
that Surette (1998) put forward that fiction is closer to news than to reality,
this statement being founded upon a study performed by Mandel (1984) which
determined that between 1945 and 1984 over 10 billion crime thrillers were
produced. Cultivation theory is most
often used to explain the effects of exposure to certain media and was
introduced in the 1970s by George Gerbner. Gerbner’s research concluded that
heavy exposure to media content could over an extended time period influence
individuals attitudes and behaviour towards being “more consistent with the
world of television programs than with the everyday world” (Chandler 1995). Results taken
from Dowler (2003) indicate that “viewing crime shows is significantly related
to fear of crime and perceived police effectiveness.” Dowler goes onto mention
that regular crime drama viewers are more likely to “hold negative attitudes
toward police effectiveness, although “regular viewers of crime shows are more
likely to fear or worry about crime. Similarly, regular crime drama viewers are
more likely to hold negative attitudes toward police effectiveness, although a
bivariate analysis indicated that newspapers as primary source of crime news
and hours of television viewing are not significantly related to fear of crime,
punitive attitudes or perceived police effectiveness.”

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Fear of crime and the mass media share a relationship which
is dependent on its audience (Heath and Gilbert, 1996). Dowler (2003) reported
that local crime news “increased fear among those who lived in the reported
area, whereas non-local crime news had the opposite effect” (Albany.edu, 2018). Local crime news has the effect of increasing fear of crime
in occupants of higher crime neighbourhoods, furthermore, research has also
elucidated that individuals whom both watch a lot of crime related television
and live in high risk neighbourhoods also had higher levels of fear of crime
than their counterparts who did not (Dowler, 2003). An individual’s personal
experiences, ethnicity, age, income, influence whether or not media has an
impact on them. Those individuals, whom experience crimes first hand are less likely
to then become fearful of them through watching them on television, whereas an
individual who has no prior experience being involved in crime, would become
more fearful after watching particular news or television dramas (Liska &
Baccaglini, 1990). Gerbner et al (1980) found that “the relationship between
the fear of crime and the amount of television watched was greatest for females
and white people”. Further research has also found out that “female, whites and
elderly people were also more likely to have a fear of crime; despite their
lower likelihoods in finding themselves victims of it” (Dowler, 2003).

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