Yes. The image of a criminal is very much a creation of books and television. The plot device may have changed as technology changes, but the criminality remains the same. Before radio, a criminal was portrayed as a Jack-the-Ripper type; a mentally ill loner that got his or her kicks from killing or theft. Once radio and television became popular, the cop show was a staple beginning with “Dragnet” I find it interesting that there are critics that have written that the detective story and the spy story are both sub-genres of the horror story. Many people have been seduced into thinking that t know the criminal mind by virtue of the fact that t have read or seen stories about such people. Those stories are fiction. It has been said that sex sells, but fear sells even more books than sex does. The detective story is still popular. Just look at any publisher’s book list. People, especially older more vulnerable people, live in fear of what might happen if criminals are allowed to have the same freedoms as themselves. This happens despite statistics that violent crime has gone down in recent decades.
In the last 20 years crime has gone down because the criminals are being caught. People are afraid that if people aren't being caught then criminals won't be held accountable. What is interesting here is that people do not want criminals to be given the same freedoms as they currently enjoy--free speech, liberty, self-defense, etc.-but they don't want criminals to enjoy the same liberties. What should the public and politicians do? We have to make the crime a deterrent to those who have not been caught by making it very apparent that once the crime is committed no one can get away with it anymore. This can only be accomplished by having visible and easy-to-find surveillance cameras and the government should be given the right to use it to catch those that have committed crimes. The private sector would only use such technology as their employers chose. No one.