Fear is an emotion, our emotions are based upon our own andothers actions.
Fear of crime gives rise to the risk-fear paradox which isprevalent across all societies, independent of actual pertinent levels of crimeand security. “Fear of crime can be consideredcontagious, because social interaction is the mechanism though which fear isshared and chronically worried populations are created. Even those that havenever been a victim of crime can be seriously worried about it” (Curiel, 2017).
The media does engender fear of crime; the media’s socially constructeddistorted view of crime does result in higher levels of fear of crime withinpopulations, despite the fact that these media representations very rarelyreflect or represent the outside world. An important comparison which should be drawnin order to answer the question posed in the title is one between researchcompleted to study the impact/effects which playing violent video games has onindividuals. There is a distinct relationship shared between playing videogames and watching violence on television, this is because both involveindividuals watching depictions of otherwise unrealistic violence taking placein front of them. Social media isanother sphere through which through media engenders fear of crime.
Fear of crime exists outside therealms of societal pretences and instead is a condition embedded within thehuman psyche. Factors such as the levels of crime and security within anysociety are obvious predictors for levels of fear of crime, further predictorsare factors such as past experiences, demographic factors, and the perceptionof insecurity; which as of recently has emerged as a social problem. Jean Baudrillard’s theory of hyperreality isone which will be closely considered in the answering of the question posed inthe title. Fear of crime and hyperreality are associated in that Surette (1998)put forward that fiction is closer to news than to reality, this statementbeing founded upon a study performed by Mandel (1984) which determined thatbetween 1945 and 1984 over 10 billion crime thrillers were produced.
The theory most often used to explain the effects of exposure tocertain media contents is called cultivation theory and was introduced in the1970s by George Gerbner. His research was based primarily on the possibleeffects television may have on its viewers. Gerbner concluded that heavyexposure to media content could over a longer time period gradually implementattitudes in its audience that “are more consistent with the world oftelevision programs than with the everyday world” (Chandler 1995). Results taken from Dowler (2003)indicate that “viewing crime shows is significantly related to fear of crimeand perceived police effectiveness.” Dowler goes onto mention that regularcrime drama viewers are more likely to “hold negative attitudes toward policeeffectiveness, although “regular viewers of crime shows are more likely to fearor worry about crime. Similarly, regular crime drama viewers are more likely tohold negative attitudes toward police effectiveness, although a bivariateanalysis indicated that newspapers as primary source of crime news and hours oftelevision viewing are not significantly related to fear of crime, punitiveattitudes or perceived police effectiveness.”