Most of us believe crime is getting worse. How often do we see yet another news report about car prowling, a break in, or especially, a violent crime? Probably every single day. Many TV news casts lead with murders and mayhem, followed by fires and auto crashes.
What effect do you think this has on how you view the world?
Pew Research took a look at the data and found that “public perceptions about crime in the U.S. often don’t align with the data”. In fact, they wrote:
“Violent crime in the U.S. has fallen sharply over the past quarter century.
Property crime has declined significantly over the long term”
Take a look at the Pew charts:
Media’s interest is in selling eye balls to advertisers. Headlines about a young single mom assaulted outside her home grab our attention.
The media frequently cherry picks stories (by frequently we mean perhaps most of the time) based on their emotional hooks and novelty. Their goal is to sell advertising. Their “propaganda” is to push stories that persuade you to watch or read their story in order to expose yourself to their advertising customers.
Novelty, emotion and fear are powerful hooks. Crime stories are scary!
A side effect is we get a very skewed perspective on the world around us – and incorrectly think that crime is worse than ever.