Communication for Social Change: a Powerful Role for Communication in Crime Prevention
There is a significant body of research about the role the media plays in influencing public perceptions about crime - Communication for Social Change: a Powerful Role for Communication in Crime Prevention introduction. The public depends largely on newspapers and television for its information about crime and the criminal justice system, but the information they receive is often affected by the limited sources used by journalists to create news stories. Sensationalist reporting of violent crime by the media often helps to increase feelings of insecurity among citizens, and in turn, affects their overall quality oflife.
There have been many attempts to increase media literacy among audiences, to monitor media content, and change the nature of crime stories produced. Public service announcements, and public education and awareness campaignsare some of the traditional approaches used by governments, another approach has been ‘civic journalism’. While these approaches are still very importantin crime prevention, they represent only a part of the media’s potential contribution. Trends in information and communications technology (ICT) offer community safety and crime prevention much more beyond publicity, promotional activities, or surveillance measures (eg. CCTV).
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Given that many governments and NGOs are investing in ICTs to develop international networks, and construct a knowledge base in crime prevention (policy, best practices, tools, training, etc), what measures can be taken to ensure thatthose who do not have access to ICTs contribute to and benefit from this exchange? The attached short reflection piece discusses some of these trends, and argues for a stronger role for communication in crime prevention and community safety policy and practice, including in particular the emergingfield of communication for social change.