Researchers indicate that among criminal justice officials, even more than among the public, the media significantly influence both policy development and support. This appears to occur due to the desire of public officials to reflect what they believe to be public opinion in regards to criminal crimes. If they perceive the public to be frightened of crime, and wanting offenders locked up (a social policy developed in response to the perception of criminality). This will be the social policy the public officials will develop and support. Crime, and Justice in the Media.
Most of the common misperceptions about crimes are portrayed in the mass media. There is probably no issue that more consistently, over a longer period and with greater emotion, influences, and public opinion than crime. Year after year crime in general or a specific crime-related issue has captured public attention. Whether the issue is drug-related crime, violent crime, juvenile crime, child abductions, serial killers, youth gangs, or crime against the elderly, a public consensus exists that crime is rampant, dangerous, and threatening to explode. The dangers of crime are seemed as immediate, omnipresent, and almost inescapable. A public thirst for more crime control, less personal freedom, and greater state intervention grows with each new crime movie and, each new governmental pronouncement of crime. Mass media devote a disproportionate amount of coverage to crime, but it organizes that coverage in a way that seriously distorts the reality of crime. First, the media creates a wholly inaccurate image of society in which violent crime is rampant and in which crime is constantly and immutably on the increase. For example, 33% of all television programs time are devoted to shows about crimes and the police. This type of programming is heavily concentrated during prime time, the period of the highest audience participation.