defining and measuring crime

  • Created by: aryan26
  • Created on: 02-04-19 17:30
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  • defining and measuring crime
    • problems in defining crime
      • "any act that breaks the law and therefore warrants some form of punishment"
      • cultural issues: what is considered a crime in one may not be in another
      • historical issues: definitions of crime change over time
    • measuring crime
      • official statistics: government records of the total number of crimes reported and recorded by police
        • published by the home office on an annual basis
        • allows governments to develop crime prevention strategies as well as direct resources in areas that need it most
        • underestimate the extent of crime- many crimes go un-reported and un-recorded
          • only 25% of offences are included in the figures
          • Farrington and Dowds- police in the borough of Nottingham were more likely to record thefts of under £10 than other regions
            • policing priorities may distort figures
      • victim surveys: records people's experiences of crime over a specific period
        • asks people to document crime they have been a victim of in the past year
        • rely on respondents having an accurate recall
          • telescoping may occur- misremembers it happening in the last year when it didn't; the trauma is fresh in their minds
        • 50,000 houses are randomly selected to take part
        • separate survey was introduced to record experiences of those aged 10-15
        • thought to have a greater degree of accuracy- more likely to include details of crimes that are not reported
      • offender surveys: volunteer the number and types of crime they have committed
        • target groups based on risk factors- previous convictions, age range, social background
        • looked at indicators of repeat offending- trends, drug and alcohol use
        • provide an insight into how many people are responsible for certain offences
        • confidentiality is high but it may still lack reliability
          • offenders may want to hide some types of crime they have committed or can exaggerate the number
        • targeted crimes are over represented where as middle class offences such as fraud may not be included
      • politics of measuring crime: the political party in opposition will focus on measures that make it appear like rates are increasing
      • multi-disciplinary approach: using a combination of all available methods to give e true insight into the extent of offending


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