Inspiring Copycat Violent Crime – A Question of Social Responsibility
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The phenomenon of copycat crime, especially copycat murder, is nothing new. One would think that, because it has been around for so long, somehow the problem would have been addressed. Unfortunately, that is not the case, as we continue to see important details of horrible and violent crimes being reported by mass media without reflection on, or consideration of, how this type of information could be used by some in planning their own crimes, imitating the crime reported. This article discusses both the media and the law enforcement aspect of the copycat problem and concludes with the authors’ own recommendations. It is essential that both mass media and police make important changes in their approach to releasing information about crime to the public. It is naïve to believe that only law-abiding people are consumers of mass media, or that important details about the commission of violent crimes that are reported by media are never going to be used by anybody for an illegal purpose.
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