Not only are the continually rising crime rates in the U.S. terribly alarming and valid cause for great concern, but equally curious and unfortunate is the public’s perception that crime and its related drama are somehow entertaining.
The most popular television show in the United States is currently ‘CSI’ (Crime Scene Investigations). Drawing in an estimated 84 million viewers, the show has been a fan favorite since its 2000 debut. Now in its ninth season, CSI continues to pull in regular viewers.
Criminal Minds, a televised series now in its fourth season, also receives praise from regular TV watchers. The fascination with crime series and the topic of violence and unlawful activity on film is nothing new; people have crowded into theaters and gathered in front of their TV screens to watch this type of action play out for decades.
As life imitates art (or is it the other way around?), cities across America continue to see occurrences of crime increase. New Orleans, Louisiana, tops the list as the most dangerous American city, leading in areas of both violent crime (they had over 200 murders in 2008) and property crime. The small town of Gary, Indiana was a close contender in 2nd place. Los Angeles, California, New York, New York and Atlanta, Georgia all had disturbingly high numbers of violent crime, including murder, as well as thefts, break-ins and burglaries, car thefts, and other incidents of property crime.
American citizens, despite their inexplicable acceptance of criminal topic matter as venues for entertainment, spend a good deal of money to protect themselves, their homes and their families. Reliable security systems become more common every year, as people realize they need far more comprehensive home safety plans than a dog and a peephole on the front door.
Citizens arm themselves with mace, personal alarms and take classes on self-defense, making very deliberate efforts to devise potentially life-saving responses to an attack. Car alarms and the ‘club’ devices (an implement that attaches to a steering wheel to deter auto theft) are also regularly purchased.
Obviously, people are aware of the threatening danger of crime, and most people are responsible enough to make efforts to protect themselves, and yet they almost promote it by accepting crime-related subject matter as an acceptable form of entertainment. Isn’t it possible that, if crime was not given top billing on television or in the cinema, maybe it would not be such a top-rated pastime amongst real-life citizens?