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Crime and Prevention. 3


Cultural criminology is the study of interrelations between crime and culture in the modern social lifestyle. The study majorly highlights concern of imagery representation and meaning of images as a means of studying criminology and its control. The studies reveal that imagery as a tool of cultural criminology has lead to the development of both media and audience situation of crime, policing, linkages of crimes, controls and cultures. It also point out technological advancement and its effect associated with digital imaging and dispensation of justice.

Relationship between cultural criminology and the image

According to Leitch (2003, p.79), the medium such as television, film, photography, art and the printed media have previously coexisted as one entity. But the recently overwhelming development and the exploitation of easily accessed digital and media technologies in the market has predestined that crime images and crime prevention are far more significant than ever. Hayward (2010, pp.10) observed that, the issues related to crime is narrated and illustrated in the current generation through the use of visual aids such as image instead of using written words.

As an example, videos and movies that engage characters in mysterious events, murderous actions and mayhem activities causes a great and a complicated observation that distinguish and lead to the unwarranted respond to crimes by the youth. In addition, uploading of both audio and visual electronic contents related to criminal activity to the YouTube website is also a considerate option that escalates rise of crimes within the society. Use of television series may interpret and translates war to HD movies that in many occasions portrays the future anticipated crime mechanisms as repressive. It is worth noting; the current visual presentation of crime and mannerism of its control is full of doubt, complexities and extremely scaring across the modern society. Imagery techniques have often been used to promote and establish the symbols, discourses and meanings of the deviance and crime control. In particular, the images can be used to create and construct parameters that set the unacceptable or acceptable, excellent or awful, the inappropriate or appropriate and the orderly or disorderly acts. As an example, a media picture illustrating a policeman at the extreme, the image showing pathetic jail structures, or a photo that demonstrates a mug shot of a notorious and famous criminal.

Moreover, the image have since been connected to the police chores, criminal investigation departments and courts of law and thus remains to be the foundation that is employed in prevention tactics and a routine to reduce crime. For example, the existence of the CCTV, vision cameras, infrared hardware and E-fitted software have revealed the means through which any visual image can be used in crime control. In addition, the use of inexpensive and hidden CCTV cameras, digital recording device like a video camera enabled mobile phone, web contents in the internet and mobile technologies that facilitate streaming of crime scene in videos formats have gone a long way in crime controls. Likewise, Aldridge, Greek, Takata and Curran(2002, pp. 76) demonstrated that images have for a long period been used in the development of a wide range of reflexive and participative methods in both social teaching and learning.

Crime studies have made an attempt to analyze and interpret images and how they have been effectively used over the past centuries. However, the discipline illustrated some particular significant attention in the dissemination, manipulation and production of the media contents with the use of visual picture during the late1960s. Hayward(2010, pp.12) observed that, it is doubtful if criminology study can entirely widen its understanding and furnish adequate meanings of the image in the current society in relation to extended methodological, hypothetical and conceptual frameworks. He therefore held the view that there is no alternative but to improve the thoroughness of the visual criminology and be able to figure out the lively force and strength of visual culture.

In the present days, the supremacy of visual image is very consequential to its accessibility and immediacy since it acts as a representation and connotation of its contents. Images related to crime and control may be produced, downloaded from the web space, uploaded, edited and circulated in a matter of seconds to a greater audience. The pace and easiness through which crime related images can be shaped and disseminated has contributed to a vast democratization of the major crime controls. Lea (2008, pp.41) highlights that, images are used by activists, artists and academicians to pave way for criminal justice organizations like the police to scrutinize and evaluate all related crimes. As an example, a death of civilian in a mass protest in a given city, investigators may request for photographs from the mass media or journalist to obtain visual contents that guides investigation so as to ascertain the real cause and apprehend the involved suspects.

Developing imaging technologies is no longer a notion that relates to arts activities and academic disciplines but has also gone beyond and traversed several disciplines including criminology and criminal justice. Mawby (2002, pp.123) shows how institutions such as the police departments and local security authorities are at the moment more adept at supervision their appearance, their constant visibility and also their accessibility to the general public through image fabrication and digital interfaces. Yar (2010, pp.73) suggested that, the use of technologies of both visual movies and still images from digital imaging to promote responsibility, egalitarianism, involvement and commitment which should be weighed profoundly against the pressure and challenges posed by it.

The speed at which the development and fine-tuning of the available technologies used in image creation, construction, handling, modifications and distribution is so rapid making it possible to increase misinterpretation and misuse of these technologies. In spite of that, there certainly exist moral issues that bind image taking, utilization, dissemination, elucidation and storage. As stated by Biber (2007, pp. 18), images need to be correctly interpreted which is not necessarily regarded as important as it is supposed to be utilized by the legal courts. This is because when a photograph is used as court evidence, it is often viewed as prone to digital manipulation particularly while still in the hands of influential, giant businessmen and the state officials.

As an example, the state of Washington vs. Eric Hayden a case in 1995, the defence totally objected the admissibility of digital images asserting they had been edited. The court however overruled the defence and went ahead to allow the use of the same photos making the suspect guilty but the appellate court later overruled the case. According to Carney (2010, pp. 21), the reason why photographs are no longer having the trust in the legal court has resulted from the ever increasing digital technology invention that has sky rocketed digital imaging and hence making forgery even easier. To understand the fidelity of an image, it is wise understand the previous image paradigm in relation to the current domain of image processing using new technology.

According to Zaitch and De Leeuw (2003, pp.178-9) to ensure that crime control bears fruits in the long run, it is essential to note that crime prevention does not only involve the cross-examination of sole criminals, events and crime media. It is important to consider vigorous and systematic study of all mirrors of crime images formed and consumed by crime agents, controls, media institution and the participating audience one after the other.

As evidenced by Ferrell (2010, pp.41-4), the media and related culture industries certainly produce an ongoing flood of crime images and crime texts; but media audiences, deviant and criminal subcultures, control agencies, and others subsequently appropriate these texts and images, and in part reconstruct their meaning as they utilize them in particular social situations. As seen above, images can also be used to deprive of the quest for justice when misused by state organ which are at liberty to modify the image for the aim of incrimination and denial of justice. This is popular among the police department, media representatives, legal and paralegals representative who tries to incriminate the evidence through the modification of the same evidence.

As suggested above, many participants have eye witnessed the efflorescence of offences .This is because they continuously consume visual crime components in the form of images in their day to day lifestyles take part and consume a huge number of crime scenes and images packaged as part of the entertainment and news. This in turn completely changes or reorganizes the implied meaning of the events seen and encountered from the representational and comparisons with their own life. This has lead that several distinct groups to generate and go through a challenging crime scenes and endeavouring to survey several representation of what is meant via collectively combining and constructing the reality in that crime.


The use of image as submission or evidence in courts has had both merits and demerits due to advancement in the digital world of imaging technology. Image use in the criminal justice is gaining popularity globally due to its efficiency and convincing power. Technologies such as CCTV have gone a long way to boost crime prevention by capturing all events taking place and therefore useful in crime prevention. Over a long period of time, the development of technologies, influence and power of images that arise as a result of the new technology has sharply increased beyond control.


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