The story of an 11-year-old girl who said she used something she learned from watching “Law & Order: SVU” to help her fight off and identify an alleged would-be abductor is an example of how TV police dramas are influential in real life.
Not that such shows are often very reflective of real life policing.
For example, they hardly ever arrest the wrong person, and DNA evidence is always collected and processed quickly, which is not the case in the real world.
The police are more often than not portrayed as heroic to the point of almost sainthood, and the cases are always closed.
These types of shows have also been accused of promoting violence and reinforcing racism.
But such shows can also teach us how to be safer if we pay attention.
Making us more aware of our surroundings
If there is one thing we have learned from watching crime dramas like the “Law & Order” and “CSI” franchises, it’s that the bad guys can be really bad.
They also are really good at getting the drop on unsuspecting victims.
So many scenes from these shows feature someone walking down an alley or some other deserted area where they are easy pickings for someone up to no good.
Learn from this and try to stay in well lit, populated areas.
Tricks of the trade
Evidence is what helps get an alleged perp arrested and convicted.
We know this from watching these dramas.
Alyssa, the 11-year-old whose alleged attempted abduction was caught on camera while she waited for her school bus in Pensacola, Florida, told “Today” she had been mixing blue paint with homemade slime at the time and knew from “Law & Order: SVU” that she should try to get some of it on her alleged abductor.
“I knew that that might be better evidence if the cops do find him,” the girl said.
Authorities said that slime did indeed help them identify Jared Paul Stanga, who was arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, aggravated assault with a weapon and simple battery, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
Fight like hell
If you have ever watched these shows, you know that those who are either caught by surprise or just back up murmuring “no, no, no” when faced by a criminal usually don’t fare too well.
Video of Alyssa showed her fighting back, which authorities say helped her story have a happy ending.
The cops on these shows are pretty tough and they always fight back, even when they are unarmed. There’s a lesson there.
Reminding us that there are bad people out there
While these police dramas may not always be super realistic, they at least serve as a cautionary tale that there are some who are capable of malfeasance.
As they say, forewarned is forearmed, so be safe out there!