FORENSICS - Problems in Defining Crime

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  • Problems in Defining Crime
    • Measuring Crime
      • extent of injury
      • number of victims
      • frequency of crimes
      • relationship to victim (or lack of)
      • mental state of victim
      • crime def: any act or omission that violates the law and is punishable by the state
    • Why would someone chose not to report a crime?
      • not worth it - small crimes
      • if you know the criminal - not getting them in trouble
      • scared of consequence or fear of retribution
      • might get worse - abuse
      • blackmailing - victim involved in crime
      • embarrassment / shame
      • not aware of crime being committed
    • Why might police may not register a crime?
      • silly/small things - more important thing to worry about
      • no chance of catching it
      • invented crime
      • getting involved - bad/good?
    • How is crime measured?
      • official statistics
      • drawn on police records
      • method of reporting crimes changes occasionally
      • victim surveys - Crime Survey of England of Wales (CSEW)
        • random sample of 50,000 households selected by Royal Mail lists, plus 3,000 10-15 yr olds
        • face to face interviews conducted about their experience of crime (whether reported one or not)
    • General statistics
      • peak crimes (reported and unreported) of about 19,000 in '95
      • crime frequency decreasing
      • different systems used by police over time
      • police registering crime increasing - police getting better


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