Criminogenic Media

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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For a long time, lots of experts argued that there is an appearance of criminogenic media, which refers to the hypothesis that media content is a direct cause of crime (Surette, 2015). However, consensus does not exist. Some experts pointed out that the relationship between crime and media are not in a direct effect but in a correlation. Nevertheless, there is a relationship between criminogenic media and copycat crime. A copycat crime is “a crime inspired by earlier, media-publicized or generator crime” (Surette, 2015).

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In some countries, like Hong Kong, it obtains a huge amount of criminogenic media but only with small levels of copycat crime. Reversely, some countries, like the USA, obtain both huge amounts of criminogenic media and copycat crime rate. The main reason for the difference is because of the social environment provided for the citizens. Although media not necessary as the dominant cause of copycat crime, when the crime is illustrated as justified, rewarding or unchallenged in the media, the more copycat crime will emerge. Since the United States provided a supportive copycat crime environment, the copycat crime rate tends to be higher than the other countries. The amount of copycat crime in a society can be explained through social and cultural factor.

First, for social factor. The US provided a supportive copycat crime environment due to its own social contexts, such as social conflicts and social norms. In the US, there are huge amounts of social conflicts happen between white and black, heterosexual and homosexual, Christians and other religions (Pew Research Center, 2018) and riots may occur. The media tends to report any news related to the riots or conflict, which will affect the size of the copycat crime pool.

In addition, According to the reading, Surette (2015) argued that individuals who are deeply immersed in popular culture and media- dependent should have an increased copycat propensity. It is undoubtedly that the U.S. ranked as the first in the soft power of digital and culture among the world (SoftPower30, 2019). Moreover, more than 53% of American has huge credibility to U.S. local news organization, such as the New York Times and NBC (Statista, 2019). When the U.S. citizens have more opportunities to engage crime shown in popular entertainment or new stories, it increases the possibilities for people to attempt copycat crime than the other countries who will lower level.

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Criminogenic Media. (2019, Nov 24). Retrieved from