In 2007, nearly 84 million people on average watched CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Most of us would have no idea what types of crimes were out there if it weren’t for crime dramas. We never understood the creative ways serial murderers committed crime until “Dexter.” We never appreciated how gruesome a crime scene looked after a murder until “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” Watching crime dramas on television may be impacting you more than you think. A recent study showed the effects these types of television programs have on people, and how they change their perspective of the criminal justice system. Overall, people who watched crime programs had a greater fear of crime in their neighborhoods. They also had less faith in their police departments and were generally more in support of the death penalty.
It’s like when watching a horror film and being worried about a zombie attack afterward. Or when you watch an old Bruce Lee film and think you can take on a street gang on your own despite never taking a karate class in your life. Television dramas have a bigger psychological impact on us than we would like to admit. The crime dramas can change your mental outlook when you realize how easy it can be to commit a crime.
So do you find yourself a little terrified and concerned after watching “CSI: Miami”? It could be a blessing in disguise. If we were to turn off the TV every once in a while, it may help quiet your mind. If neighborhood safety is a major concern, you could start a neighborhood watch group. If you’re worried about assault or robbery at night, travel with a buddy. To quote Batman, “Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot,” and you can always take solace in the fact that criminals are usually brought to justice by the close of each episode — unless it’s a season-long cliffhanger.