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BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In this age of technological advancements, everything seems to be changing and very fast too. Everywhere on the globe is besieged by strong currents of change sweeping across it, bringing about changes in social systems. Consequently this has led to alterations in the structure of society and its component parts over time.
The mass media is not immune to these changes as it has had its fair share of amazing transformations, the changes in the media industry, particularly television coupled with channel abundance and the adoption of new television technologies has ushered the world into an era of ‘globalised’ television programming. As channel proliferation is becoming the order of the day; the structure, expectations, habits and audience behavior are also reverberating to the changing syndrome.
Research shows that in this era of television revolution, the mass media accounts for a high proportion of people’s leisure time. As put forward by Livingstone (1996) “people spend an average of twenty five hours per week watching Television”. The reason for this according to Spencer (1979) is the fact that Television holds its viewers spell-bound. It is also indisputable that Television is a very strong agent of character molding and indeed socialization.
Howe (1983) in his study of television violence cited an earlier work by Bandura (1977) that children’s exposure to violent behavior on film or television increases their likelihood of behaving aggressively. He said ‘observational learning’ is responsible and this he linked to the fact that children imitate the behaviours of the models they observe – just the way they learn cognitive and social skills from their parents, siblings and peers.
Other scholars like Milica (2006), Boucher (2006), Gillis (2005) and James (2002) all share the view that Crime Scene Investigation, CSI dramas and Crime shows have filled the airwaves; children and adults alike are fast learning the tricks. These scholars believe this has fueled the increase in criminal activities and possibly, the sophistication of the act.
It may not be out of context to say; television is turning out to be a strange monster that has come to live with man; the worrisome thing is that it appears to be gradually domesticating man. It is against this background that this study intends to examine the effects of television in relation to the upsurge and sophistication of criminal activities in Kaduna North Metropolis.
1.2STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Over the years, there has been a gradual but steady rise in criminal activities in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State. According to Alemika and Chukwuka (2005), Nigeria has witnessed an upsurge in criminal activities in the past two decades and Kaduna has had its share. The severity of this problem can be attested to by the number of armed robberies, assaults, rapes and assassinations that are reported on television and the pages of the newspapers, thus assuming the status of a social problem (dimensions of social problems in Nigeria).
It has also left residents of the area in perpetual fear as their lives and properties are no longer safe. Residential areas occupied by high and middle income earners like Ungwan Rimi, Jabi Road, Alkali Road, Gwamna Road, Malali GRA among others have recorded incidences of criminal activities.
As a result of frightening dimension, crimes like house breaking, armed robbery, rape and some other offences have come to stay. The State Government and Police Force have intensified efforts at curbing the crime rate. To fight the menace, the State Government donated patrol vehicles to the Task Force on security which has been code named “Operation Yaki”. In addition, the movements of commercial motorcyclists (Okada) who have been identified to be involved in perpetuating crimes in Kaduna have been cancelled. The motorcyclists whose movements were between 6am to about 11pm were said to rape, drug, beat up and steal the possessions of unsuspecting members of the public who patronize them, especially at night.
To support this assertion of increasing crime rate is a crime statistics from the Kaduna State Area Command of the Nigeria Police. The table shows the crime rate between the year 2000 to year 2006 for offences against persons, property as well as crimes that do not fall under the two broad categories. Though, the statistics indicate the crime rate for the entire state, the area under the study is the largest town and cosmopolitan center in the state where more crimes are committed.
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