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The Influence of Social Media Platforms

in the Crime Awareness of College Students


Abstract

The problem of crime has been a constant menace to the society. From petty theft

to robbery with violence, crime continues to impose an immense issue in the government.

Despite of all the effort of government officials, crime rates in the Philippines does not

seem to subside and still remains at an alarming rate. thus, the need to overcome the

majority of these problems has led people to seek solutions in the problem that does not

seem to end.

Prevention is said to be better than cure. In order to overcome this situation in the

modern society, innovations must be taken advantage of by the people. This research

paper will dwell about the role of social media platforms in developing the crime

awareness of college students and determine if the use of this medium is an effective way

in crime prevention.
Identification of the Problem

A crime is defined as an act of violation of law which puts the sake of the public or

a member of a public at danger. In small neighborhood, crimes can be observed when

one resident does not follow the simple city ordinance, even in highways where

pedestrians do not follow the right traffic rules, or even in the government where the

officials commit fraudulent actions. Crime persists as one of the major causes of problems

in our society. Many people of different ages suffer from any act of a felony and

misdemeanor of undisciplined men.

It is necessary to fix this problem and one of the things to do is to understand the

cause of the issue. To find a resolution and prevention, one must first understand its

nature. As described by Michael Tonry and David Farrington (1995), criminal justice

prevention refers to traditional deterrent, incapacitative, and rehabilative strategies

operated by law. The researcher believes that to understand such misconducts, criminal

profiling is one of best ways to determine the flaw in the social conditions and

institutions—influencing people to commit misdemeanors. However, this requires a lot of

time and action if done by a single individual only.

The causes of crime can be defined as biological, sociological or even

psychological, it varies depends upon the individual who committed the act. The

underlying principle is that these individuals do such felonies as a response to their

environment. A child who has been born and raised in a family who rob for life may also

grow up as a robber. A person who has been coerced to do illegal things may be caused

by peer pressure. A politician who has been facing uncertain issues may resolve the

problem by further doing fraudulent acts. Other people may do it for their own necessities
or for selfless reasons. Although it matters to determine the cause of doing crime,

prevention is still better than cure.

Brought by the diverse innovations in the modern era, several technologies varying

from hardware to websites are developed in each day. Such inventions provide ease and

convenience to the life of its users. When it comes in preventing illegal actions, users,

regardless of their age, must take advantage of these inventions. This research

specifically discusses the contribution social media applications that can increase to the

security and crime awareness of college students as they venture their every day life in

the society.
Data Gathering

To provide a more comprehensive discussion regarding the issue of this paper,

the researcher has cited the following facts from articles, news, journals, and essay who

have conducted the same approach with this paper.

Psychological weakness is one of the reasons why people commit illegal activities.

“All human beings have innate desire to belong, and this desire is extended to cover the

desire to belong in a family.” (Crutchfield, 2000) Otherwise stated, poor parenting may

one of the leading cause of crimes. As stated in the previous section of this research,

people commit felonies and misdemeanor as a response to the society. All people are

naturally good unless an outside factor forces them not to be.

According to a report in Rappler, an online news anchor, crime rates under the

Duterte Administration have substantially decreased by 21.8% in the first 11 months of

2017 compared to the same period in 2016. However, despite of this increase, illegal acts

can still be observed everywhere. The current situation may be compared with a physician

prescribing medicine to soothe the patient’s pain without actually curing the disease.

Although numbers provide a sharp decrease of crime rate, it does not guarantee that

absence of any illegal acts is and will happen in the future time.

In the website of Philippine National Police, the authorities have provided several

crime prevention information to give awareness to the Filipino people. Most of these

include knowing your neighborhood, saving the local police numbers and other tips

necessary when dealing with dangerous situations. Aside from that, the Department of

the Interior and Local Government (DILG) have implemented the national emergency
telephone number for the Philippines—911. This is one of the measures of the

government to fight crime in the country.

Public safety includes a comprehensive crime prevention program. The authority

develops programs to promote safety and security of the people under its jurisdiction. The

only factors that limiting the desired security brought by these measures are technicalities

of the servers and hotlines, monetary constraints and ineffective implementation of the

government’s plans. (Abidinsky, 2007.) it is the public’s responsibility to follow the rules

and regulations to avoid further conflicts, and to abide the law.

Since most of the people nowadays utilize the use of technology, involvement of

social media campaign is necessary for crime prevention. According to statement from

the website of National Neighborhood Watch, an America-based online news anchor “with

law enforcement personnel being strained by budget cuts and the struggling economy

keeping us at home more often, embracing online networks as prevention tools may help

us form a deeper connection with our neighbors and local law enforcement while helping

to prevent crime.” Moreover, these technologies also provide opportunities for the police

to obtain reliable public platform to detect the activities of some of the tagged possible

criminals. Not only the social media sites increase awareness of its users but also

provides a better control for the security of society.


Data Analysis

To test the hypothesis of this research that the social networking sites work as an

instrument to increase awareness of its users, the researcher has conducted a survey

through the use of Google Forms in which 50 college students answered 10 questions in

relation to the theme of this paper. Since some of the answers to the questions cannot be

quantified, the results of the survey will be summarized in a narrative form.

The first question asks how many social media apps are used by college students

now. 32 out of 50 (64%) respondents have said two sites, 11 out of 50 (22%) have said

three and more, and the remaining 7 (14%) have claimed only one. The second question

asks about the frequency of their use of such sites. 46 out of 50 (92%) have claimed using

such apps for several hours per day while the remaining 4 (8%) have said they only use

such apps once a day. For the third question, the researcher enquires about the diversity

of the content of the posts that the users see while using social media apps. Generally,

the respondents have said that they see various contents which includes life story of their

friends, film trailers, music videos and as well as news articles and blogs. The

respondents almost have the same answers. The next question asks how the users take

seriously the news articles that they see in their accounts. 41 out of 50 (82%) have said

that they do read the articles while the remaining 9 (18%) have said no. For the fifth

question, the respondents have been asked about the intensity of how they react to such

news article. Most of the respondents have said that they react by mere sharing such

posts and telling the story with their friends. No one has answered about sharing violent

reactions regardless of how triggering the news is. The next question asks the

respondents if they can notice immediate resolution to the news that they see in their
news feed. Nobody gave a definite answer but to summarize, they said that it depends

upon the level of the news, the more critical the story is, the less likely the news is given

a proper resolution. The next question is about the effectiveness of the storyline or the

flow of the news. All of the users have said that nowadays, video editors can create a

very comprehensive video presentation that could make their watchers remember most

of the relevant data in the news. For the third to the last question, the researcher asks

whether such news about crime, especially the most heinous ones, have touched them

emotionally. Again, no definite answers were given by the participants because they all

answered in a narrative form. But to summarize, news about crime always make them

feel moved, regardless if justice was served or not; if the victim was a kid or woman. The

succeeding questions asks about their own awareness to the situation of the country right

now. They have said that most people now react to every little thing the government does

thus every time they visit social networking sites, the tendency is that they are also being

kept up to date. Lastly, the respondents are asked to evaluate on their own on how aware

they are to the acts of criminals, and other felony and misdemeanors occurring in the

country right now. All of them have described that they think they are aware enough due

to the fact that they spend most of their free time seeing the trending news using their

social media apps. Aside from that, one of them has also stated that every one reacts on

everything that they see and that people tends to overshare stories with other people.
Verification

The summary of the results presented in data analysis proves that the hypothesis

of this research paper is correct. Although the number of respondents is small, the results

are still believed to be as close as accurate interviews since college students possess

similar traits on how they use social media applications.

Awareness is required before applying any personal safety or self-defense tactics,

techniques, and procedures. Since preventing a crime is a totally different issue for it

requires a bigger and a more extensive research, crime awareness is still a relevant step

to prevent any dangers from happening. People must utilize the benefits the technologies

bring them because from innovations come a better security.

The government should consider investing in a better equipment for a better

control and have a more effective and competent government officials to deliver laws and

ordinances as planned. Since there is a wide range of causes of doing a crime, each

individual must also work with the entire community to help eradicate the alarming crime

rate in the society.


Bibliography

Abidinsky, H. (2007). Organized Crime. California: Thomson & Belmont.


Awareness for Crime Prevention. (2010). Retrieved from ModelMugging:
http://modelmugging.org/crime-prevention/awareness/
Crutchfield, R. D. (2000). Crime. Thousand Oaks. California: Pine Forge Press.
Estanislao, A. (n.d.). 911 Philippines. Retrieved from CNN Philippines:
http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2016/07/28/911-philippines-emergency-hotline-
available-August-1.html
Imperial, M. (2018, May). Rappler. Retrieved from
https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/203821-metro-manila-recorded-
crime-rate-dip-may-2018
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