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Security Theater

I came across this in reference to sexual predators and Halloween — For those convicted of sex offenses, it can be the most dreaded night of the year. Group roundups, dusk-to-dawn curfews with the lights out, mandatory “no candy” signs on their doors and spot checks for compliance are among the various techniques of control ostensibly designed to protect the public.

Contary to the sex offender hysteria on All Hallows Eve, however, sex offenders are not out snatching and molesting children on Halloween. And they never have been.

Last year, a published study proved what most experts already knew: There is no Halloween spike in sex crimes against children. …

The farcical crackdowns are a prime example of what Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast calls “security theater,” that is, “hyping (and pretending to solve) a threat that in reality is extremely remote, even to the point of diverting resources from policing activities like DWI enforcement that would protect more people and save more lives.”

Why Halloween, we might ask? After all, most sex offenders target people they know, not children off the street. And the crackdowns on registered sex offenders miss the mark anyway, because the overwhelming majority of new sex offenses are committed by men who have never been caught for a past sex offense. Furthermore, registered sex offenders feel so branded and ostracized that most are ducking and hiding today.

But the scare feeds into a deep-rooted cultural fear of the bogeyman stranger. This fear is memorialized in the timeworn Halloween legend of tainted candy that has endured despite myriad attempts at correction. 

Continue Reading @ Psychology Today

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