Monday, February 06, 2006

Is TV Teaching Criminals New Tricks?

This is something I've always wondered about:

When Tammy Klein began investigating crime scenes eight years ago, it was virtually unheard of for a killer to use bleach to clean up a bloody mess.

Today, the use of bleach, which destroys DNA, is not unusual in a planned homicide, said the senior criminalist from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Klein and other experts attribute such sophistication to television crime dramas like "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," which give criminals helpful tips on how to cover up evidence.
As noted in my tag-line, I'm not a fan of TV in any form. The one exception I would generally make are the informative shows such as (non-evolutionary) science shows and some of the real-crime stories found on CourtTV. The article mentions CSI, which is fictional, but the same principle applies to the real-life forensic shows. Food for thought...

To be fair, the information provided is available in any number of sources, so one technically can't blame TV for spilling the beans. But, as mentioned elsewhere in the article, criminals are usually quite dumb and wouldn't normally be expected to research their crimes at the local library or on the internet. But TV, which rewards passivity, can broadcast ideas that the average criminal would normally be too lazy or too ignorant to obtain on his own.

2 comments:

sonia said...

Problem is, even if we could ban all this info, there would still be as many murders as before. More criminals would be caught, perhaps, but their victims would still be dead, no matter what...

Jack said...

Yeah, I'm generally not in favor of banning things. My point was just that there is a downside to mass culture that we ought to be aware of. Still, more criminals caught is a good thing and, if the justice system were effective at keeping them out of society, that might prevent other murders down the line. But that is another whole discussion.