Public Opinion About Crime

Hundreds of research studies that have examined a wide range of topics on public perception about crime support the conclusion that citizens generally are not well-informed about this issue. For example, the public perceived that crime rates for several different types of crime were increasing during times when in fact those crime rates were decreasing or remaining stable. The public also overestimates the proportion of crime that is violent and makes incorrect generalizations about the types of crimes most commonly committed by specific ethnic groups. Furthermore, people hold many stereotypes about specific crimes that are inconsistent with the types of cases that come through the courts and with how those crimes are defined in statutes. Jurors with these misperceptions often acquit atypical cases or recommend ...

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