This is a pilot study funded by the LSE Suntory and Toyota International Centre for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD), and its data will inform a large-scale research project that seeks to develop evidence-based guidelines for the production, dissemination and public communication of crime information that does not damage individual and collective wellbeing.
The key question that this project seeks to address is: What is the impact of different types of crime information and its processing on affective, behavioural and cognitive attitudes to the crime-risk? Crime is an important discursive subject within political, cultural and societal contexts, encompassing stereotypes, normative assessments, images of criminals and victims. Publicly available crime information can thus determine how people view, experience and react to the risk of crime.
The timeliness of this project relates to the fact that in the era of ‘fake news’ and with the immense increase of media channels in recent years, the public are exposed to mixed-quality information about social phenomena, such as crime, which can be highly politicized, sensationalized and often lacking in direct knowledge. Criminological research has shown that as crime narratives in the media are more market-driven than data-driven, the information that they disseminate can be distorted, negatively affecting people’s perceptions of the crime-risk, and thus individual and collective wellbeing.
This research takes into account the pluralism of crime information that exists today, exploring crime statistics, crime news and crime fiction, and their impact on public attitudes to crime. The experimental methodology that the study employs enables the exploration of causal associations between crime information and public attitudes to crime as opposed to the primarily observation research that is conducted in this criminological research area.
Find out more about Dr Ioanna Gouseti.