Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Lindsey Maxwell, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism


This study focused on college students’ viewership of the crime drama television shows NCIS, Law and Order, Criminal Minds, and CSI as well as students’ perceived vulnerability to crime. The aim of the study was to determine if there is a relationship between the viewing of crime dramas and perceived vulnerability, based on the theories of mean world syndrome and cultivation. The study also examined the platform viewers used to watch crime dramas, whether that was streaming services or other options such as cable or satellite television. The chosen platform was also compared with perceived vulnerability to crime.

To collect this data, a survey was done at The University of Southern Mississippi and was comprised of 99 respondents. Responses were collected over a week’s time. The results indicated that respondents who viewed certain crime dramas had a higher perceived vulnerability to crime than respondents who had never viewed those shows. The results were mixed as to which television platform corresponded with higher perceived vulnerability to crime. Additionally, women were found to perceive themselves as more vulnerable than men do.