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CRIM notes ch2.docx

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Chapter 2Democracy theorypolicy decisions by public officials should reflect public opinionoCriticism Public officials influenced more by small wealthy powerful elite than general publicAnother majority opinion may violate democratic principles of fairness equality and justice Public opinion also often inaccurate ie world is flat not roundPublic opinion that violates democratic principles should not influence public policyRANDOM FACTSoLess than 10 of convicted felons are found guilty at jury trials with most found guilty as a result of plea bargainingo1020 of police officers time is spent fighting crime the remainder is spent on directing traffic responding to traffic accidents and other relatively mundane mattersoAbout 1500017000 people die each year from homicidesoAbout 17000 people die each year from the direct or indirect effects of illegal drugsoWell under 10 of all felonies in a given year lead to someone being imprisoned for committing the felonyoThe profile of the typical criminal if one includes very common crimes such as employee theft and other kinds of whitecollar crime is certainly not restricted to those who are poor and nonwhiteNews media overdramatizes crime found by scholarly investigations of media crime coverage In many waysThrough crime waves when a citys news media suddenly devote much attention to a small number of crimes and create a false impression that crime is rampantoMedias crime coverage continues to be heavy even though the crime rate may be declining oOften media may devote much attention to very uncommon crimes or even report stories of crimes that never happened15 million25 million children reported missing every year found that most are runaways only 300 abducted by strangersOverreporting of violent crime by reporting so many stories about itcrime 1 topic in local TV stories over weather accidents and disasters and human interest stories
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