Over the last few years reality based crime shows have appeared on many television networks. These shows depict actual investigations of crimes as they have unfolded. While reporting crime is nothing new in the media circuit, reality shows like The First 48, Crime 360 and Cold Case files are getting high ratings. Although the ratings are far better than the networks would have expected it appears that there is a trend in the type of crimes that are investigated. “The cameras roll as law enforcement from some of America’s most violent cities, including Miami and Memphis, canvas the crime scene of a murder victim.
As crime scene specialists gather evidence, detectives interview possible witnesses and ascertain the victim’s identity. Investigators display gritty and raw emotion as they make death notifications to victims’ families. Tensions run high as these professionals attempt to recreate the last hours of a victim’s life, meet with coroners, and interrogate suspects”. (Find Internet TV, 2009) In viewing the popular reality crime show The First 48 and Crime 360 the predominant race of the offenders are African American males.
The settings for most of these investigations come in the heart of crime ridden cities. The types of crime featured are robbery, theft, domestic situations, drugs, gang related, arson and cold blooded murder. Each of these crimes depicted on the show ultimately resulted in the life of a person being lost. With each episode that was reviewed the crime that predominated was a robbery which ended as a homicide. In one episode of The First 48 titled, “Eleven Dollars” a man was brutally murdered in broad daylight by two African American males.
The two young men planned to rob a well known neighborhood man. The two men knew of the deceased’s daily routine and decided to rob him. The man was viciously attacked by the offenders; they shot the man and proceeded to rob him after he took a fatal gunshot to the chest. The offenders stole the man’s belongings which included a cell phone and his wallet; they left his house keys behind. The stolen wallet only contained eleven dollars in it and a picture of his wife and three children (AETV, 2009).
The average age of the suspects involved ranged in ages as young as sixteen and as old as fifty-seven years of age. The younger age suspects tended to be involved in crimes surrounding robbery or theft. While the older age suspects are involved in crimes surrounding drug related crimes. Although there is a large gap between the age groups of the suspects’ one thing that is very common amongst the age groups are the way in which they commit their homicides. Almost ninety percent of the crimes that were committed were done so with large caliber handguns.
The hands guns ranged from nine milometers, glocks, rougers and the smallest being a twenty caliber handgun. The most common age of the victims were in their early twenties while the oldest victim was sixty-eight years of age. Likewise, while the predominant race and gender of the suspects were African American males, however, there was a slight difference in the predominant race and gender of the victims. In the episodes where the suspect was an older man the victims most often were woman. There was as much as ten year’s difference in age between the suspect and the victim.
For example, in one episode of Crime 360 titled, “Woman in Homicide” a forty-nine year old male suspect beat up his said girlfriend in the parking lot near a lake. He brutally beat the woman until she was unconscious. As the woman was already near death the suspect pulled her lifeless body from the vehicle and drugged her behind a large commercial dumpster. At that point the suspect drenched the woman’s bottom with gasoline and set her on fire. The suspect was later caught and arrested fro the crime.
When asked by investigators why he committed the crime he stated that “he believed that she was cheating on him because she had come home fifteen minutes late”. It was later found that the victim had stopped by her mother’s house on the way home to drop off medication to her which caused her to arrive home late (AETV, 2008). The types of crimes committed by the suspects did have a correlation to the type of crime they committed. The younger suspects appeared to commit crimes that made them feel like they had power or the upper hand over their victim.
For instance, robbing their victim was a common crime viewed on Crime 360 by younger assailants. Most of the crimes involved beating their victim first, robbing and then shooting them. However, the older suspects appeared to commit crimes out of rage. There victims were sought out based on revenge. For example, on The First 48 an older African American male shot and killed a victim for revenge of his younger slain brother six years prior. The victim had done prison time for the homicide of the suspect’s deceased brother.
The suspect felt that his anger and rage after so long was warranted and thus he killed the victim in cold blood. The victim at the time of the shooting had been out of prison for five years for the homicide at the time of his own death (AETV, 2009). The products advertised do not appear to be geared toward any specific subgroup of the population. Although the network is the home of many of the reality crime shows on air today. There are a lot of two minute segments or commercials during the hour long episodes. The segments and ads range from shows about “Hoarders”.
The show depicts people who have an obsessive disorder to collect and keep everything for years. Their homes become inhabitable to live in because of the all trash and debris. The network also runs commercials and ads about an upcoming series called “Intervention”. The series is about people who have drug and alcohol addictions. Their families and therapist plead with them to change their lives before they end up dying from an overdose. While the ads do not focus on a specific group it does tend to run ads and commercials that can involve crime or the affects that crime can have on a person over time.
Cite this Crime and the Media
Crime and the Media. (2016, Oct 23). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/crime-and-the-media/