Americans are extremely conscious of crime

Though most Americans are extremely conscious of crime, most know little about the extent and the nature of crime. Develop presentations, which demonstrate the categories of crime, victimization patterns, and areas most prone to crime, trends, and patterns, which show the relationship between age, race, gender, income and crime. This investigation should give you a more objective perspective from which to analyze crime policies. You should explore various crime “stereotypes.” Good sources for this information are the FBI data compilations as well as various state and local government data.

Discussion can turn to how crime is portrayed in the media. How crime stories, whether in the newspapers, TV or film, appeal to the American public and in fact sell products. This discussion raises interesting ethical concerns, particularly with respect to the influence of media and entertainment violence on the young.  Along with an historic overview of criminal justice policy, a review of criminal court cases particularly the 1960 Supreme Court decisions which required protection of custodial rights. Students are often very interested in issues regarding search and seizure examples.  

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Consider issues of gun control, capital punishment, (medical) marijuana, and drug decriminalization. State your position, and then defend the other side.  Study white-collar crime.  Discuss why some feel that this type of crime is not treated as aggressively as other crimes.  Compare crime rates and American reaction to crime with that of citizens of other countries. Comparative criminologists find that American preoccupation with crime is unprecedented when compared with other countries. 

You may concentrate on some of these suggestions for your discussion. 


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