The Center for Community Research & Service(CCRS) is the University of Delaware's focal point for community engagement and action. CCRS provides usable knowledge, education, training and services that enhance the ability of organizations and communities to promote social and economic justice. The Center works with public, nonprofit, and grassroots community organizations and leaders in a variety of program areas, including housing, community development, welfare, nonprofit management, family support, and criminal justice, among others.
(Center for Community Research & Service, 2001) Yanich, Danilo
Even though crime has fallen in the United States in the past six years, public opinion
polls indicate that crime and public safety are the over-riding concerns of citizens in
communities. These polls tell us that a significant majority of our citizens get most of
their information from local television news and, in general, they believe what they are being
shown and told. In short, these newscasts play a pre-eminent role in the social construction
of reality and, by extension, in forming the cognitive maps that citizens use to understand their
communities. This paper examines how the press, particularly local television news, portrays
the urban–suburban dimensions of crime in two major television markets in the U.S. Findings
show that local newscasts in the markets differed significantly along the urban--suburban
dimension of crime coverage. But they were consistent in the message that the city was a
dangerous place. This paper suggests how this type of message in turn influences the shape
of public policy responses.