If the news and politicians are to be believed, crime in America is at an all-time high. Crime-fighting was one of the primary focuses of Trump’s election campaign, and high-profile cases would have us believe that we’re not even safe at home. It’s no wonder, then, that we’re living in something of a culture of crime, where fear is the dish of the day.
But, the facts don’t align with this national fear. Violent crime in America has been on a significant decline for the past quarter century. As can be seen on sites like www.pewresearch.org, this is directly opposed to current perceptions, with surveys showing that the majority think the opposite.
The question is, are we creating our own culture of crime? If so, how, and what can we do about it?
False accusations, or ‘bad justice’, are nothing new. Past cases are being exonerated as we speak. Yet, new false accusations happen every day. Sometimes, these involve unsolved crimes which police are looking to shut. Other times, though, accusations aren’t even off the back of real crimes. Consider that someone is arrested in America every three seconds. With handcuffs coming out on the regular, it’s natural to assume there’s more crime about. False arrests like these can cause something of a hysteria. And, just like that, a prevailing culture of crime comes to the fore.
The lasting tarnish of crime
Rehabilitation is one of the main reasons for prisons. Still, the vast majority of us believe that criminals are for life. Few of us would give a job to an ex-convict, for example. These prejudice attitudes can push even a rehabilitated individual into a life of crime because they have no other choice. You could argue that more willingness to accept rehabilitated individuals could see them living a straight life. A fantastic example of this can be seen on wheelersangel.com, the blog of a self-sufficient community. They’ve had zero crime since 2012. It seems that a large part of this comes down to not seeing people as ‘criminals’. By not getting the police involved in incidents they have experienced, they’ve managed to do away with any culture of crime. Which makes you wonder whether our current attitudes aren’t the things holding us back.
Last, it’s worth noting that a lot of our fear comes down to the comprehensive coverage of crimes. Though crime rates are dropping, we’re seeing more coverage of every incident on news outlets like www.foxnews.com. It’s no wonder, then, that we think more is going wrong in our country. Once, crimes went under the radar because they weren’t in our faces every single day. When the news focuses for days on every crime which happens, a culture of crime is inevitably born. We would be far better off turning back to our communities, and looking at the world around us, not the violence displayed on our screens. We might just find that crime isn’t half as high as we’ve been thinking.