Police TV Shows Can Help You Stay Safe (Analysis)

(CNN) – The story of an 11-year-old girl who said she used something she learned from watching the show “Law & Order: SVU” to help her fight and identify an alleged abductor is an example of how television crime dramas influence real life.

Not that such programs often reflect police surveillance as it does in the day.

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit".

A scene from “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

For example, the wrong person is almost never arrested, and DNA evidence is always quickly collected and processed, which is not the case in the real world.

Police are often portrayed as heroic to the point of near holiness, and cases are always closed.

These types of programs have also been accused of promoting violence and reinforce racism.

But these programs can also teach us how to be safer if we pay attention.

That is how:

Making us more aware of our surroundings

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from watching criminal shows like the “Law & Order” and “CSI” franchises, it’s that the bad guys can be really bad.

They are also very good at helping unsuspecting victims.

So many scenes in these shows show someone walking down an alley or some other deserted area where they are easy prey for someone who does no good.

Learn from this and try to stay in well-lit, populated areas.

Tricks of the trade

Evidence is what helps a suspected criminal to be arrested and convicted.

We know this from watching these dramas.

Alyssa, the 11-year-old girl whose alleged attempted kidnapping was caught on camera while waiting for her school bus in Pensacola, Florida, said to “Today” that he had been mixing blue paint with homemade slime at the time and knew from “Law & Order: SVU” that he should try to get something on his alleged abductor.

“I knew that could be a better test if the police found him,” said the girl.

Authorities said the limo helped them identify Jared Paul Stanga, who was arrested and accused of attempted kidnapping of a child under the age of 13, aggravated assault with a weapon and simple battery, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

Fight with all your might

If you’ve ever watched these shows, you know that those who are caught off guard or just back off muttering “no, no, no” when faced with a criminal usually don’t do too well.

In the video it was recorded how Alyssa was fighting, which according to the authorities helped her story have a happy ending.

The cops on these shows are pretty tough and always defend themselves, even when unarmed. There is a lesson there.

Reminding us that there are bad people out there

While these police dramas may not always be super realistic, they do at least serve as a warning that there are some who are capable of unlawful acts.

As they say, being forewarned is being prepared, so stay safe!