In democratic societies, crime policy and its management by legislatures and ministries largely depend on crime trends. If, over a prolonged period, the media reports large upward trends in the number of crimes committed and if the public debate on crime focuses on spectacular, serious crimes, policy makers come under heavy pressure to increase statutory punishments and tighten the rules of procedure for criminal prosecutions. At the beginning of January 2004, the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony commissioned social scientists from TSN Infratest to conduct a representative survey of 2,000 people in Germany on their perceptions of crime trends. Given the significant hardening of sentencing attitudes among the German population and the changes in crime policy, it comes as no surprise that German courts are handing down harsher sentences. Marketing of the media commodity known as crime is primarily based on its entertainment value, not its frequency of occurrence in real life.