Video Game Link to Philadelphia's Murder Rate? Politicians Probing

July 11, 2007 -
crime-scene.jpgPhiladelphia's homicide rate is out of control. Nobody in the city disputes that. So are local politicians blaming crime, drugs, easily available guns, gangs or poverty?

Nah. Video games. The Evening Bulletin quotes Rep. Ronald Waters (D):
Philadelphia alone has seen 204 homicides so far this year. Violent video games may or may not be a contributing factor, but we will never know unless this issue is seriously studied.

Children can't always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world, and there's no telling what impact this exposure to violence will have on them later in life.

Waters is one of the original sponsers of H.R. 94, a resolution to study the effects of violent media on children. GamePolitics covered an amendment to the bill in a report published earlier today (see: Pennsylvania Legislature Looking Into Video Game Violence). The Bulletin report speculates that Waters and his colleagues in the Pennsylvania legislature may challenge the accuracy of the ESRB rating system.

Said Darin Broton of the National Institute on Media and the Family:
The 800-lb. gorilla in the room is how do we address graphic media violence. The Pennsylvania House is not the first state legislature to tackle this issue, and it won't be the last. There really needs to be a national solution, like a universal ratings system.

GP: We covered Rep. Waters' original move in this direction last September.

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Comments

Government wasting money FTW.

@Tempo, I hope so too, but I simply have a feeling they will come up with some reason to legislate anyway, like most of these reports regarding Video Games, they are approached with the 'Fred Phelps' school of thinking, in other words, there are something like a Million words in the Bible, Fred Phelps only cares about 7 of them 'Thou Shall Not lay with another man.', the other 900K odd are irrelevent. Politicians read studies in much the same way, they look for the paragraph that serves their purpose and ignore the rest of the study.

I would hope so Mr. RobotUs...

I was going to say, why not have every city in the US do a lame study like this, it would probably be cheaper than teaching all the poli's to read, or comprehend existing studies.

Even including the 10 bil. for a 'What is google?' power point presentation..

the real 800-pound gorilla is why our elected officials are so retarded and out of touch.

@ Vinzent
I believe you meant, “What do you intend to do about the ACTUAL leading factors of crime, namely: unemployment, poverty, gangs, and drugs?”
But, well, the answer to that would be to redirect attention toward video games and away from incompetent politicians.
Pennsylvania has some incredible disparities in education, income, and environment, yet with all the evidence that crime is increased by allowing so many to fall toward the lower end while only bettering those at the top, here we are contemplating spending needed money on frivolous legislation.
And they wonder why the people most in need of better [insert anything here] don't trust the government enough to leave their betterment (and taxes) in its hands....

Funny thing is, if the results of this testing comes out as 'Video Games are nothing to worry about', do you honestly think they will simply say 'Okay' and move onto other things?

One word. Disgusting.
Of all the things a government can choose to waste money on, why this? No study they're going to throw onto the ever-growing pile of garbage that's been called video game research is going to affect any real change, so why try? Do politicians do this crap because they get bored? "Let's spend the money of game research RATHER than fund the police force to reduce the crime rate DIRECTLY." This whole move is horrendously disgusting.

I wish someone would ask these politicians (in front of reporters)...

"Do you believe that this legislation will end violent crime?"

"What percentage do you expected violent crime will decrease with passage of this bill?"

"What do you intend to do about the other leading factors of crime, namely: unemployment, poverty, gangs, and drugs?"

@ Joshua:

of course because we all know Pats makes the best cheese steaks.

It's because this way Politicians can 'do something' about the problem without actually 'doing something' about it, thus ensuring that there is still something for them to 'do' when re-election comes around.

So is the Evening Bulletin a branch of The Onion or something? Scapegoating of this magnitude has to be a joke right? To ignore the obvious problems in lieu of games, it has to be a joke.

@ Dexee

Politicians are paper dolls - they have no real substance other then what's imbued into them by their electorate or, as is the case in recent years, the lobbyists. Even if you take all of them down and elect the entire government over from scratch they will still reflect the biases of the voters. Change comes from the few politicians with balls, but we see less and less of those in recent years.

You solve the problems by educating the people so they elect politicians who enact legislation that actually targets the root causes of these issues.

Crime, drugs, easily available guns, gangs or poverty have one big problem though. It's stuff the politicians are "supposed" to "solve", so it's the choice between confessing they are not able to do their jobs or finding someone to blame. Seems they know what to do.

Hi. I live in Philly and I can tell you that the problem with the murder rate in this city could be fixed by doing the following:

Combat drug trafficking in the city.
Reduce poverty in the area.
Improve public schools in poorer neighborhoods.
Reducing the number of gangs in the area.
Increasing the number of community centers in impoverished areas.
Increasing police presence in the city, and especially in impoverished areas.
Get Mayor Street out of office.
Fix the Septa crisis.

And last but not least, GET GUNS OFF THE STREETS.

In 2006, residents of this city thought that having more guns on the streets would reduce the occurrences of crimes, and of violence. They made their voices heard in local city papers. What has been happening for the past few years is that guns HAVE been solving disputes in the city, but many of these disputes usually end in gun fire and death.

The problem is that while honest, law abiding citizens have been using guns to legitimately protect themselves, so do every other nefarious citizen, gang banger, drug dealer, etc.

Fact: 80 percent of the homicides in Philadelphia are committed with guns, and 10 percent of the victims of gun violence are juveniles.
Source: http://216.239.51.104/search?q=cache:7IMitd3W1OYJ:ework.phila.gov/philag...

In Philadelphia, if you give a person on the street the wrong kind of look, then you're likely to have a gun jammed in your face. People DO shoot each other over petty disputes, whether it be that you said something offensive to someone's friend or the person wants your shoes (yes there are documented cases of murders occurring for BOTH of the listed reasons).

This legislation is truly a waste of tax payer dollars, time, and does not make me feel any safer in this blasted city. There are more viable alternatives which can be applied right now to help combat crime in Philadelphia.

Personally I blame cheesesteak disputes for all the violence.

Wow, drugs, gangs, and guns don't even get a passing mention here. Never mind that the FBI has listed those (and not games) factors as the most likely causes of the upsurge in crime in some cities. Funny how the Philadelphia government and NIMF act like they know more about crime than the top law enforcement agency in the country.

To everyone in Philly, PLEASE vote these clowns out of office. They obviously aren't interested in solving your city's high crime rates.

"[Politicians] can’t always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world,"


There, fixed.

@Tom

I think that one way of taking the challenge is to get rid of all the politicians that don't know jackshit about whats REALLY going on in their country rather than what the PTC, Liberal Media, NIMF and the Church of England tell them...

Ok lets play the blame game.

I proposed that the rate of homicides in PA has to do with the number of Inept politicians. The longer inept and incompetent politicians stay in office there is in an increase in homicide rates. The only way to bring down the crime rates is to put more inept and incompetent politicians into office so they can make more stupid laws to arrest anyone

watching TV,
playing video games,
wearing the hood of their sweater over their head,
watching movies,
playing with water guns,
throwing water balloons,
any (if not all) impressionable children,
people wearing baggy clothing,
for wearing red,
for wearing blue,
for flashing the peace sign,
for not speaking proper english,
looking suspicious,
for being black,
for being asian,
for being trailer trash,
for being mexican,
and for not being an inept or incompetent politician.


although its funny. We charge 14 year olds as an Adult if they commit a crime. But yet we treat them as a child when it comes to what they can watch. Its funny though that historically 14 years old made you an adult. And now ur adult depending on what you do.

"Children can’t always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world, and there’s no telling what impact this exposure to violence will have on them later in life."

Later in life? You mean when children become young adults and understand the difference between right and wrong, real and make-believe? Hang on, that doesn't just happen, there's something in the background that makes this come about. What is it again? Oh yeah, having been raised properly by their parents or guardians!

I'm sure there are some people with mental problems that could be adversely effected by violent media, but it is up to their parents/guardians to ensure they do not consume any media not suitable for them. There are children who are severely and dangerously allergic to peanuts. Should companies who make peanut related products be blamed and be asked to stop? No, it's up to the parents of these children to ensure that their child is not exposed to these things that could be harmful to them. Why can't people understand this?

They should commission a study into the effects of a lack of proper upbringing, or anti-social tendencies, drug use or gangs instead. You know, some of the things that are actually involved in criminal activities?

You know, the murder rate here in Baltimore is just as bad if not worse. Are they blaming video games for the problem here? NO! Thankfully they're focusing on poverty and how the police department can improve, which are more substantial issues. Sounds to me like the Pennsylvania govenrment would rahter spend time chasing phantoms than facing the real problem. Our own government in MD may not be perfect either, but at least they have the sense to acknowledge where the real problems lie.

Maybe it's the goddamn $5 tolls Philadelphia has. Good to see where THAT goes to.

I blame rap music. And tango, the forbidden dance. Goddamnit, we need to have these things STOPPED!

The most violent periods in modern American history had nothing to do with games and all to do with drugs and gangs. Why are things any different today? Because people - and therefore politicians - want to believe that we're moving forward and therefore they will believe that it's not the same problem that we've already "conquered" rearing its ugly head again because it actually stems from deep seated cultural and social issues that would require real work to change, rather it's [insert latest thing here]. It sucks for us that the latest thing is our preferred pastime.

I can't believe that they are so short sighted. Why can't politicians focus on real solutions instead of scapegoats?

OK, i think we need to force all politicians to have one month (a year) of STFU, so we can get some peace and quiet every once in a while.

Heres the thing about it all as well, Penn is known for hate crimes as well. Drugs, Gangs, Sex, More Drugs, No Police.. almost sounds like where I live :X

I am pretty damn sure drug and gang wars make up 90% of this.

Man wtf @ politicians

Yeah! Rather then blaming poverty, negligent parenting or hard drug use we'll just blame video games and entertainment media as it's easier to make those things a scapegoat for these problems rather then deal with the real problems out there.
I really fucking hate politicans now. Both the Censorcrats and Republimoralists. Both parties need to be taken out of power immediately. They are useless and have no idea how or don't want to take the time and money to solve the real problems out there. Vote Green, Vote Libertarian, Vote Independant, just don't vote for the two main useless parties that are in power right now. Don't vote for the lesser of two evils. Lets show the Republicans and Democrats we are sick of their bullshit and fucking around once and for all.

Um, how many of those homicides were actually committed by children? I bet

"There really needs to be a national solution, like a [sic] universal ratings system."

So remind me, what's that "M" on the box doing there anyway?

You ate my post!

Um, how many of those homicides were actually committed by children? I bet fewer than 10. Relevance of study? None.

http://gamepolitics.com/2007/07/10/video-researcher-says-violent-games-c...

Can we just send them this link and tell them to blow it out their ass. Maybe if they had proper policing and city protection they wouldn't have to blame anyone else.

[...] greg90 wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Re:

i totally agree.  people are gonna murder people whether there are video games or not.  that's like saying CSI is teaching kids how to murder people and get away with it.  DUMB!!!!

 
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