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Media Coverage of Organized Crime: Police Managers Survey

NCJ Number
Trends in Organized Crime Volume: 7 Issue: 4 Dated: Summer 2002 Pages: 29-54
Judith Dubois
Date Published
26 pages
This Canadian survey of 20 senior police managers throughout the country asked whether media coverage of organized crime has influenced the managers' activities, such as operations, administrative policies, and communications.
The police managers generally believed that the media have given sufficient coverage to the activities of organized crime, and that the quality of the coverage is adequate; however, some concern was expressed about the coverage selection and inconsistency in the quality of the coverage. Just over one-third of the managers felt that not enough coverage has been given to nonviolent organized crime activities, which constitute a large portion of criminal enterprises, notably racketeering, economic crimes, theft, and counterfeiting. The media may focus more on violent crimes because of their tendency to draw more public attention to the coverage. Many criticized the media for preferring sensational crimes and dramatic reporting; and in some cases the media was viewed as glamorizing organized crime. Although police managers indicated their intention to prioritize and design their responses to organized crime in accordance with their knowledge and experience regarding organized crime and its threat to public safety, they acknowledged that they were aware of the influence of media coverage and the public attitudes that are molded by it. Consequently, police managers do take into account the public's fears and priorities when allocating police resources. 2 tables, 5 notes, and 11 references