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Study: TV Violence Makes People More Afraid of Crime

A new study shows that Americans' fear of crime is statistically related to the level of violence shown on primetime TV.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center, at the University of Pennsylvania, compared annual changes in the amount of violence on popular primetime shows during the 1970's through 2010, with changes in the rates of response to people's fear of crime over that period of time. The Annenberg Center conducts research, convenes panels of experts, hosts lectures and conferences, and publishes reports on five main areas: Political communication, information and society, media and children, health communication, and adolescent risk. The study argues that even though crime rates have decreased people's fears about crime fell and rose during that period along with TV violence rates. Since the 1990s there has been more TV violence. According to researchers, the findings suggest that TV dramas cause people to imagine the real world to be similar to that of the world of TV shows. Regardless of the national violent crime rate. TV Violence Shutterstock It is interesting to note that for every violent sequence per hour causing an increase of 1 percentage point of people afraid of being a victim of a crime in their own neighborhood. Each additional violent sequence per hour predicted an increase of 1 percentage point in the people who told Gallup they were afraid of walking alone at night in their neighborhood. “We now have stronger evidence that the fictional treatment of crime on TV may influence the public’s fears of crime,” Dan Romer, co-author of the study and an associate director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center,  said.  By seeing crime dramatized on TV at a higher rate, people do not think there is more crime in their neighborhood, but “by seeing it dramatized, it makes people more afraid of whatever crime there is,” he told Deadline. The research did not examine cable TV programming because the researchers argued, "they weren't a big factor when the study starts." Researchers did not look see if certain age groups where more affected by violence on television shows than others. Do you think television violence causes you to become more afraid of crime? Do you think shows such as CSI make you more aware of crime or more afraid of crime? Many argue that prolonged exposure to violence makes people view the world as a dangerous place. Do you agree? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below! Discuss this story with fellow Project Casting fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @projectcasting.

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