The problems with crime reporting in the US

I have written many times before about the serious problems with the (in)justice system in the US in the way that police department and prosecutors tend to value getting convictions more than justice, with the result that many members of poor and minority communities tend to get disproportionately arrested, charged, convicted, and imprisoned.

But there is another problem and that is the way that crime is covered in the media which, in addition to giving the distorted impression that the level of crime in the country (people who watch the news tend to think that crime is rising each year when it is in fact dropping) adds to the biases in the system.

In another excellent episode of his show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver looks at the problems with the media coverage and what can be done.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Dunno if Oliver touches on this (I tend to avoid videos in general), but USAnians should know: the FBI has switched to a new crime stats system, but most state and municipal law enforcement doesn’t use that, and our national numbers don’t mean squat (e.g., no figures from New York City, Los Angeles, or the whole state of Florida).

  2. txpiper says

    Bad policy gets bad results. The problem with crime reporting has more to do with embarrassment than anything else.

  3. txpiper says

    Jayland Walker was shot and killed, tragically but not surprisingly, back on June 27. All eight of the officers involved in the incident have returned to work.

  4. tuatara says

    After being hit by 46 bullets, police cuffed the unarmed suspect (Jayland Walker) because that is what you do to a dying black man.,death%20a%20homicide.
    OT (as in the OP) but topical in terms of your comment, txpiper, when anyone could be carrying a gun people tend to get shot by the police, or anyone else for that matter. When almost no-one has a gun, hardly anyone gets shot by anyone at all. But hey, you stick to your sacred 2nd amendment* there, txpiper. As you are no doubt well aware, that djin is not going back in the lamp.
    *amendment implies changeability.

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