Wanted: local heroes

October 26, 1995

The latest academic research has thrown up a a new link between those much debated phenomena; screen violence and rising crime rates.

According to researchers at the London School of Economics the problem is not too much celluloid blood and gore but a dearth in contemporary films, of heroic characters who always play by the rules. Children, say the researchers, are twice as likely to imitate positive, anti-violent images as they are to copy violent ones.

Robert Reiner, LSE professor of criminology, is studying films dating back to 1945 in a bid to discover whether changes in the representation of filmic violence can indeed be linked to an increase in crime.

Michael Winner and David Puttnam debate the subject on pages 15 and 16.

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