Criminal Investigations: Is Television Affecting How You See Crime?
- August 02, 2006
- by PInow Staff
Surprise - police investigators may not be able to give your case the attention you need, which is why a private criminal investigator may be your best bet.
We read about it all the time: television viewers see plenty of violence and criminal behavior on programs, and some groups even link television viewing to actual crime rates. Whether you believe that television viewing makes you more likely to commit a crime or not, though, there is no doubt that the world of crime and crime investigation on television does not reflect the actuality of criminal investigations.
Do you believe any of these television myths?
On television: The world is full of violent crimes and violent criminals.
In real criminal investigations: According to Stanley Rothman's book, Watching America, the rate of crime shown on television is about 1,000 times the level of crime that actually exists on our streets.
On television: Many crimes are committed by strangers.
In real criminal investigations: According to statistics gathered by the federal government, many crime victims (including the victims of violent crimes) know their attackers.
On television: Most crimes are street crimes involving tough characters from the wrong side of the tracks.
In real criminal investigations: In today's world, many criminal investigators spend many long hours pursuing white-collar and corporate crimes, which are estimated to cost our economy hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
On television: All crimes are solved and almost all criminals face justice.
In real criminal investigations: The chances that a criminal will be sent to jail for a crime are about 1 in 100. Although 80% of murders are solved, the majority of break-ins are never solved.
On television: Police are tough guys who may or may not be corrupt.
In real criminal investigations: According to a study done by the NYC Police Foundation Survey, only 14 percent of the police interviewed thought that television shows an accurate picture of police work. A full 48 percent of police subjects interviewed said that TV police shows hurt their image. 60% of the police interviewed said that TV police did were reckless in their actions not act within the law, especially where driving and weapons were involved.
The FBI Uniform Crime Reports found that while the rate for serious violent crimes dropped 6%, murder rates dropped by 13% and the rate of property crimes decreased 10% in America between 1990 and 1995, network news coverage of these crimes crime grew by 240 percent in the same time period. News coverage of murders alone in this period grew 336%.
What it all means
If you have been the victim of a crime, perception of crime may affect how your criminal investigation proceeds. Consider that a jury in a criminal case may be affected by common misconceptions about crime. This possible threat to justice is exactly why many people affected by crime are turning to private investigators to launch their own, independent crime investigations. This method has several advantages:
- Unlike a police crime investigator, a private investigator works for you. That means that you play a role in deciding how long a criminal investigation will take, what methods are used and what leads will be followed
- Although television shows depict police officers as people with many resources, actual officers tend to be spread thin over many cases. A private criminal investigation, though, means that a professional investigator will use all resources at their disposal to help you.
- Police criminal investigators are interested in finding a criminal and solving a case, while a private investigator you hire is interested only in gathering information that can help you. This means that the results of a private criminal investigation can result in evidence that can help your lawyer get the result you seek.
- With a private criminal investigation, you have access to all the information an investigator finds and you can ask your crime investigator all the questions you want. A police criminal investigation does not usually involve sharing much information with the public or even with the parties involved. A private criminal investigation just ensures that you stay informed and involved in the case that affects you.
How can I ensure that my criminal investigation does not turn into a television stereotype?
If you are involved in a criminal case, hiring a private criminal investigator can be the single most effective thing you can do to take control of your case. Finding an experienced criminal investigator in your area can be as simple as a click of the mouse. The PInow.com worldwide directory of investigators puts qualified investigators right at your fingertips, so that you can always find a local investigative professional who can help you.
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