Sunday, October 24, 2004

Pornography's Link to Crime

October 19, 2004
Pornography's Link to Crime Tracked
by Keith Peters, Washington, D.C., correspondent

Is there a link between porn and sex crimes? A sheriff's department in Utah thinks so.
A Utah police department is now requiring its officers to document pornography found at the scenes of sex crimes, a move hailed by pro-family groups that say it's long overdue.
That's because, while a connection between crime and the abuse of alcohol or drugs has been evident for a while, there is also evidence that pornography and crime are linked.
"We're starting to see a similar thread with the pornography in the relation to sex crimes," said Lt. Matt Bilodeau of the Cache County (Utah) Sheriff's Department.
The department is putting hard numbers to the suspected connection. But Bilodeau said tracking the link between pornography and crime will take time.
"I think it's going to take us a couple of years to be able to get a feel for what this will really do or not do for us," he noted. "So we're going to have to first get it in place with the criteria and then track it for a year or two and see what kind of statistics we get."
Robert Peters, president of the New York City-based watchdog group Morality in Media, said his organization has been trying for some time to get law enforcement to track pornography's impact on crime.
"We have proof," he said, "from perpetrators of sexual crimes, we have proof from victims of sexual crimes, we have proof from law enforcement agents, from date rape counselors that there is a link between pornography and violent sexual crimes."
Those pornography statistics, he explained, will add to social science evidence that exposure to pornography changes people's attitudes about sexuality. He also said there have been a number of studies showing that when people view pornography, their attitudes towards rape change—followed by a change in behavior.
Peters added that society has a right to know if perpetrators of sex crimes are using pornography as a tool.