The majority of individuals in many receive much of the knowledge and impressions of the criminal justice system through several forms of media outlets. This means that the myths and perceptions of crime are fueled by the various forms of media. However with the growing urbanizations in many towns, it is necessary for individuals residing in the towns to rely on the mass media to get material and data about the crime. In the circumstances of the city of Smithville, it evident that there were various crimes that were committed. The reporting of what happened, however, may have been exaggerated (Mackey and Levan, 2013).
Situational analysis of Smithville
Looking at the situation that has been presented about Smithville, it is apparent that individuals have little accurate knowledge of the crime. Additionally, the individuals residing in the town have little idea about the criminal justice system. Through the media, the residents of Smithville have come to have the misconception of crime as being constantly increasing, especially the crimes of violence, the media has overestimated the proportion of crime in the area and finally have increased tensions in the communities by reporting that the crimes are as an outcome of the dissimilar racial backgrounds of the residents. The other miscommunication in the media is that there is a serial killer in the area. All these information that is being aired by the media is pure speculation, and there is no proof. This increases the tensions that the public have. Additionally, the myth that people from different races cannot co-exist together without having to deal with a crime should be dispelled. The three kids who were found dead in the town can be explained through; the two children who were found dead after being brutally tortured and mutilated could have been an isolated incident of human trafficking that went wrong. There are however various other explanations that might be given to explain their deaths. The deaths of the children may have been caused by an individual who wanted revenge on the parents for something that had been done earlier. It is proper that the criminal justice system create a media center so that they can provide information about the deaths so that the media does not speculate. On the death of the second child, when a child goes missing on a picnic, the child may have got lost and fell over a cliff thus having the head injuries. When the media portrays that the serial killer is on the loose, then that is a misrepresentation of the actual facts. Serial killers tend to have specific targets, and the motive is almost the same. The manner of killing is almost the same (Garland, 2001).
Areas where the community’s perception of crime is created
In urban areas, the public tend to rely on the media to get information. This is why it is easy to find news stations running their stories 24 hours a day. Given the popularity and the ubiquity of the mass media, the role that it plays in offering information to the public cannot be overlooked. According to Law Commission of Canada (2005), the portrayals of the crime in any particular area by the media is mostly not the actual picture of the actual crime that happened. In the case of Smithville, the different media outlets had different explanations of the crime that occurred. Additionally, some of the media houses tend to focus on the crimes that are violent in order to increase their ratings and number of viewers. The other area where the community creates a view of crimes is the programs that they run. Through violent and cases involving criminal justice systems, communities are able to come up with myths that the criminal justice system is flawed.
Measures to address the problem of myth perception
It is up to the stakeholders in the town of Smithville to certify that the influence of the media in disseminating information is reduced. The stakeholders of the criminal justice system may come up with a press center whereby the information that is provided is the information that has been proven. Additionally, the media center should be responsible for providing information about how to deal with the different circumstances when they arise. These circumstances could include the reporting of missing persons in time, education on how to protect children when they are on a picnic. According to Rawls (1999), the stakeholders may come up with community policing programs that ensure any suspicious activities are reported to time.
Some of the steps to solve the cases include confidential and proper investigations of the cases. In order to avert the repeat of such cases, it is vital that the individuals who have committed such offenses are punished by the law. The due process should, however, be followed so that the offenders of these wrongdoings are not let free. This is a popular myth the individuals have on the criminal justice system. Johnson (2000) notes that the rationale for the changes that have been proposed are based on its applicability. It is easy for the Sherriff to conduct investigations and create a media center without having to source for funds. Additionally the education programs can be used and the community policing programs can ensure that individuals live together in Smithville in harmony.
Rawls, J. (1999). A theory of justice. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Garland, D. (2001). The culture of control: Crime and social order in contemporary society. Oxford [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press.
Allen, M. (2013). Textbook on criminal law. Oxford University Press.Opie, C., Atkinson, Q. D., Dunbar, R. I., & Shultz, S. (2013). Male infanticide leads to social monogamy in primates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(33), 13328-13332.
Law Commission of Canada. (2005). What is a crime?: Defining criminal conduct in contemporary society. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
Mackey, D. A., & Levan, K. (2013). Crime prevention. Burlington, Mass: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Johnson, E. H. (2000). Linking community and corrections in Japan. Carbondale [u.a.: Southern Illinois Univ. Press.