Thursday, January 4, 2007

Crime Scene Locations

I’m often taken aback by the way certain television crime dramas depict homicides. A few things bother me that don’t relate to actual life or the current statistics collected and published by major reporting services like the National Crime Justice Reference Service (NCJRS).

To begin, in 2004, homicide victimization rates for blacks were six times higher than for whites. Yet on almost every homicide case on your basic CSI-type show, the victims are white. And the majority of victims are killed by their own race: 86% of white victims were killed by whites; 94% of black victims were killed by blacks. That, too, is cast in a skewed manner.

The number of homicides in which the circumstances were unknown is greater than any known category of circumstances. Because sometimes the answer is never concrete. Arguments are often cited as a frequent circumstance when known circumstances are given for murder. And then the other reasons people get killed are: in the commission of other felonies such as robbery, drug-related problems, or rape; or gang violence, which has increased almost 8-fold since 1976.

And yet, you’ll watch several episodes of CSI-Miami for example, and the victims are mostly white. They live in extremely upscale areas. The people who are killed are rather prominent, judges, models, businessmen. And a lot of the action takes place in exclusive, glass-windowed homes on the water, or in expensive nightclubs, yachts, etc. In fact, I always comment to my husband how beautiful the camera pan-in shots are before each segment begins. It looks as if Miami has been whitewashed. The buildings are all deco, beautiful in shiny glass and steel. The waterways are immaculate and the ships upscale and very pricey. There is very little garbage. Even when they show a warehouse scene where they’ve chased a criminal, there is no trash and no graffiti. The houses that these victims get killed in also have no clutter, no knickknacks, no clothes lying around, no artifacts or signs of real life.

In reality, most places that victims are found are low rent dives, trailer camps, poor neighborhoods and trashy establishments. It is mainly victims victimizing victims. Why? Because most criminals are desperate. They probably do drugs. They have no resources or safety nets. And they are just getting by or scrapping to live. Crime is less passion-driven than one of lack of resources. Most of these people do not have family that care about them. And the areas that they live in are dirty, toxic and downright disgusting.

1 comment:

Patricia Spork said...

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