Apart from the problems that heavy media coverage of murder investigations can cause for any subsequent court cases, as shown by a recent article over at Index on Censorship, I really do dislike how our news culture approaches its reporting of serious crimes such as the recent murder of Joanna Yeates. Though the public is also partly responsible for my current reaction as well.
I wish people would stop using the speed at which cases supposedly develop on TV shows such as CSI as a gauge as to how things should happen in real life. Apart from the police having to make door-to-door inquiries that need to have critical bits of info (and there will be loads) entered onto computer databases so that things can be cross checked easily, the forensic investigation of any crime scenes that may turn up takes a long while, and it takes a long, long time to get results and analysis back on stuff done in a forensics lab. It could be a month or more before any reliable forensic evidence is available.
People need to just let the police get on with what they need to and only butt-in if they’re someone who has information that can help with the investigation. Also, keep in mind that no matter what is reported in the media, the information given out is only as much as the public needs to know, because the police cannot release loads of info as it would compromise their investigation. Key details in any crime will rarely, if ever, be released as that is information that the police can use when interrogating witnesses and suspects to check out if they’re the real deal.
A lot of stuff that gets reported, in the end, is often hyped up speculation. And if you see anyone on TV claiming to be a “profiler”, turn the channel over straight away, because they aren’t part of the investigation and thus don’t have access to all the facts and evidence necessary to make a reliable analysis of the victim and/or perpetrator/s.