US Newspapers’ Portrayals of Home Invasion Crime

28 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018

See all articles by Reginald A. Byron

Reginald A. Byron

Southwestern University

William S. Molidor

Southwestern University

Andrew Cantu

Southwestern University

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

This article presents the first known analysis of US newspaper portrayals of ‘home invasion’ crime by quantitatively investigating over 1,000 cases of home invasion drawn from 15 geographically spread city newspapers. In line with the concept of moral panic, descriptive statistics suggest a recent marked increase in the usage of the term ‘home invasion’ among newspapers. Additionally, regression analyses predicting levels of coverage suggest that a market‐driven model of news production, invoking a fearful worst‐case scenario, prevails. Victim or suspect fatalities, the number of victims or suspects, and the type of weapon reported, all generally predict the word count of initial articles and the likelihood of a follow‐up article. Analyses also partially support the hierarchy of victimisation hypothesis. We conclude by cautioning that citizens and legislators should consider these findings when calling for new legislation and appeal to criminologists to produce comprehensive empirical analyses on home invasion crime.

Keywords: home invasion, media bias, moral panic, newspapers, social construction

Suggested Citation

Byron, Reginald A. and Molidor, William S. and Cantu, Andrew, US Newspapers’ Portrayals of Home Invasion Crime (June 2018). The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, Vol. 57, Issue 2, pp. 250-277, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3192230 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hojo.12257

Reginald A. Byron (Contact Author)

Southwestern University

1001 East University Avenue
Georgetown, TX 78626
United States

William S. Molidor

Southwestern University

1001 East University Avenue
Georgetown, TX 78626
United States

Andrew Cantu

Southwestern University

1001 East University Avenue
Georgetown, TX 78626
United States

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