I was listening to a podcast this weekend and the host was talking about the unintentional interpretations of photographs. He mentioned Wynn Bullock’s “Child in the Forrest”. He was saying how, fifty years ago people looked at the photo and described it as an innocent girl just lying in the forest with not a care in the world.
He went on to say that if you ask people now they are more likely to tell you the girl is dead, killed by a serial killer or something of the sort. When I looked photo up on the internet I had to agree. How times have changed.
I studies Psychology and Criminology and one of the things they taught us in Crim. is that the perception of crime can be as bad as the crime itself. In other words, despite what the numbers say, if people believe that crime levels are high, then it will be true enough for them to affect their daily lived dramatically.
Take this picture. I am sure that 50 years ago you were almost as likely to be kidnapped and murdered as you would be today, but with a higher population density, higher reporting of crime and more media coverage, it seems like crime is much higher than before. Per person, I don’t believe it is that much worse.
Let us look at South Africa. Despite the supposedly high crime rate, the only thing that has ever happened to me was that my bicycle was stolen, and that was twenty years ago. (I ignore forgotten wallets that were never returned.) Sure, we have a relatively high violent crime rate, but as a tourist, for example, you will be sheltered from that for the most part.
In Korea if FEELS like there is a very little crime, but when you start looking in to statistics and how they are compiled, you realize just how “bad” things really are. Many crimes don’t get reported, even thought the police were involved. That is a product of the culture. Many crimes are hidden by the victims because culturally they are ashamed or are even blamed for the crime. Many crimes are sorted privately. Despite all of this happening around us, we FEEL that it is safe here, and that makes life here so much more relaxed than South Africa, or even the USA from what I hear.