This discussion will be a fun one for you, because you get to watch TV. Now, si
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This discussion will be a fun one for you, because you get to watch TV. Now, since I have 100 of you and you don’t all have access to the same cable/broadcast TV, nor do you have the same schedules, I can’t ask you to all watch the same new episode of TV. However…
All of you DO have access to the internet, and due to the generosity (HAH – they make it so you can’t “zap” the ads) of the television networks, there are many, many crime shows that may be watched in their entirety on the major network websites (I won’t list ’em all — ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, etc). I just spent time checking, and there are currently shows that you can watch, in their entirety, without paying a cent or having a cable subscription to their streaming service. There are also obviously for-pay ways to do so (Amazon instant, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix) and less-than-ethical ways that I don’t recommend (.torrent sites and their ilk. Seriously – I don’t recommend ANY of the illegal ways of obtaining content, because the websites are so often filled with malware. Yes, and the ethical stuff too. There are legal ways).
What is all this chit-chat in aid of? I want you to watch TWO episodes of a crime drama, or ONE episode each of TWO different crime dramas. Please keep it to “pretend” shows (scripted dramas that are presented as such), not reality shows or documentaries. Watching COPS is pretty much cheating, since they usually describe the charges for each of the unfortunates who show up on that program. There’s half a billion crime dramas out there, Take notes, and identify all the crimes committed by the bad people (and the good people, if you want to) during the episode. Write up how Florida would classify the crime, and how we would get statistics about it (would it be in the FBI’s crime collection database, the NIBRS? Would we be more likely to find out about it (as criminologists) using official reports, self-reports, or victimization reports? Since crime dramas typically focus on crimes the police find out about, they’d obviously be part of “official reports”, such as the UCR or NIBRS, but knowing what you know about how likely the crime is to be reported, might we be more likely to find out about a particular crime through self-reports? Victimization surveys? Here’s an example of why this is important: Think about intravenous drug use — is most of our knowledge about it from arrests? Unlikely. In fact, almost none of it is officially reported. So down in Miami most IV drug use is hidden from Caruso and crew. Though they sometimes take a [sunglasses] stab at it.)
Also, if there is anything you see that is obviously just ridiculously incorrect, you can discuss that too (police officer shoots suspect, goes right back out on patrol – that sort of thing) Anyway, post your analyses here. So, in summary: Watch two hours of crime dramas (scripted, not “reality” nor documentary). Keep a running track of ALL the crimes committed and/or investigated for each show. Make a list (table, whatever) of them and identify each crime, and discuss what sources of data/statistics criminologists would typically use to learn more about each. Also keep track of seriously unrealistic depictions, or ridiculous examples of police procedure and mention them as well. You are (of course) expected to politely engage in conversation with at least one other group member regarding your postings. This brings up the rule which will hold for the DBs as a group regarding due dates and availability:
By this assignment’s DUE DATE, you need to have posted your paragraph(s) discussing the shows you watched and the crimes you analyzed using the above instructions. If you do not have your main post submitted by that time, you will lose, at minimum, 1/3 of the points available for this assignment.
By the end of the AVAILABILITY of this DB, you must have done your main post AND replied to at least one of your fellow group members. If you don’t have at least one thoughtful reply post, you’ll lose 1/3 of the points available for this assignment.
An example of one of the shows you discuss might go like this (I’m obviously using totally made up data from a nonexistent show):
“CSI: Tampa”. Accesed from A@E website on 12/19). Episode: “Close, but no Cigar”
“Crime One: Homicide of a drug informant. Would be treated as a First Degree Murder under FL Statutes in all likelihood. Most information about homicides is available through the Supplemental Homicide Reports, which are put out by the FBI as part of the old Uniform Crime Reports, now the new NIBRS system”.
Ridiculous crime procedure: during episode, agent gets in fistfight with suspect prior to probable cause being established. This allows police to arrest suspect for assault on a police officer (“STOP RESISTING!”) and evidence is found in suspect’s cell phone. Fun on TV, but almost never is a fistfight considered “legitimate” escalation of force, and if our suspect’s phone was locked (or even the screen just turned off), you need a warrant to go into it or anything you find goes right out the courtroom door. Agent is not disciplined and is allowed to keep working on case.
That would be an example of ONE crime you witness while watching the shows, and ONE example of silly, unprofessional police behavior. Clearly, watching two hours of crime procedurals, you will have more than one crime to report on and discuss, and probably more than one example of police behavior that would never be tolerated in a real department.
Feel free to use any of the recent [past five years] SCRIPTED crime dramas (not documentaries or “reality” shows like COPS. If you have any doubt as to whether a show is a scripted crime drama, look it up). You can even use strange ones like iZombie or Lucifer (the last season..sniff) if you want to (and can make the episodes work with the discussion directions).
If you get hooked and watch more than two hours worth of episodes, that’s fine. Just don’t make your posting 10 pages long — hard to grade that way)