COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Nacro: crime charities need creative solutions

Crime charities need to look beyond the national media in order to promote a more balanced view of crime in the UK, according to Nacro.

Speaking after its Crime Watching: Crime, Public Perception and the Media conference, the crime prevention organisation said that charities faced an almost impossible task in trying to get their views represented in crime reporting by national and local newspapers and broadcasters.

Instead, crime groups should think more creatively about how to reach the public and make better use of channels such as community radio and magazines, local websites and discussion forums.

Nacro also cited the recent Channel 4 series Buried as an example of how TV and soap plot lines are able to communicate the reality of the culture of crime in the UK. The charity commended the popular TV drama, which followed the experiences of a man serving a lengthy prison sentence, for its accurate portrayal of life in a British jail.

"Crime sells newspapers and the Government can't be seen to be complacent on crime," said Adrian Thomas, spokesman at Nacro. "Unless it ceases to be in both their interests to ratchet up the tone of the crime debate, things aren't going to change."

Thomas said charities can challenge the Government and the media through altering public perceptions about the reality of crime by talking to local people about how a more holistic approach would benefit their communities.

"If our views aren't being reflected in the national media then let's try and make a difference by focusing on how preventative schemes can stop kids getting involved with crime," he said. "We can also provide opportunities to help those trying to break out of the crime cycle to get back on their feet."

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