Aired: March 20, 2010

On the Trail of the DC Snipers

In October 2002, filling up a gas tank or loading groceries into the car brought fear to many residents of metropolitan Washington, D.C. region.  Over the course of three weeks, two snipers killed 10 people and injured three others in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia.  Jack Censer (George Mason University) in his new book “On the Trail of the D.C. Sniper: Fear and the Media” asks if the press, by intensifying its focus on the atmosphere of heightened anxiety, also intensified the sense of fear. Also featured:  Tod Burke (Radford University) and Stephen Owen (Radford University) examine how cell phones are being smuggled into prison facilities worldwide in swelling numbers and are being used to orchestrate crimes, retaliate against other inmates, and to intimidate and threaten witnesses. Also: David Weisburd (George Mason University) says concentrating on “hot spots” or specific streets where crime is occurring, instead of entire neighborhoods, enables police and communities to focus their resources.