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Stereotyping of criminals

The media play a role in generating stereotypes of criminals. A stereotype is a simplified generalisation about a group of people from a particular social group, based upon often ill-informed views.

Media stereotypes of criminals often portray criminals as being from lower social classes, less educated and violent.

Often the media generate stereotypes of large groups of society as being criminal based upon their social characteristics. Those on benefits are often portrayed as being criminal and committing fraud.

Negative stereotypes are often applied to young people, particularly those from urban areas, as being involved in criminal subcultures.

Whilst these stereotypes exist in the media, it is important to note that they are socially constructed and based upon the opinions of those involved in the production of media. Critics claim that the media focuses excessively on these groups in society as they look to shift the blame for society's problem from those in power onto groups that have the least power, creating scapegoats to divert attention from other issues in society, such as corporate and state crime.

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