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"A Study of the Impact of Crime Shows on Contemporary Criminal Investigations" Open Access

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Crime shows are extremely prevalent in current television programming. The popularity of these shows has created what is commonly referred to as “the CSI Effect.” This effect argues that crime shows cause viewers to have skewed expectations regarding criminal investigation and prosecution. This research looked specifically at the CSI Effect and how it has affected the way law enforcement officials do their jobs. The purpose of this thesis was to determine if and/or how crime shows have influenced contemporary criminal investigations. This research took a qualitative research approach based on grounded theory. Fifteen, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted with individual police officers to examine what influences crime shows have had on their profession. Participants were asked 14 questions related to crime shows and their work experience. Once participant responses had been coded and analyzed, it was determined that police-work is very case specific and officer dependent. Participants acknowledged that each situation they deal with is different than the next; therefore, at times they were unable to provide exact answers to questions. This study found that crime shows do influence law enforcement and contemporary investigation. The type and severity of the influence was inconclusive. Overall, this thesis argues that more research needs to be conducted regarding the impact crime shows have had on current policing.

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