When an “issue” becomes a “problem”

Let’s think for a moment about the issue of youth crime in Canada.  In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the “problem” of youth crime because people believe that rates are rising, posing a threat to public safety.

According to a 2008 survey conducted by the Canadian Department of Justice, close to 80% of those surveyed believed that rates of youth crime had stayed the same or increased in the past five years.

CHART. Perceived Change in Overall and Specific Youth Crimes in the Past 5 Years, Canada, 2008

Such perceptions are often based on or reinforced by media coverage of research, government actions, and crime statistics. For example:

Image source: graph

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