Official statistics

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  • Created by: andakhan
  • Created on: 11-03-16 17:50
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  • Official statistics
    • Intro: OS recorded by the police Marxist, LR , interactionists and feminists critisize this as OS only show amount of crime reported - dark figure of crime is unaccounted for- some crimes not reported- police stereotypes affect crime reports
      • :) advanatges of OS: cheap and readily available =- published annually allow trends and patterns to be detected to review changes overtime and between different countries/ areas (rural or urban)
        • Positivists argue: OS true measure of crime- providing representative+ reliable data- true measure of crime in UK -relaibility consistency to measure to yield similar results- Home office collects crime rates every 6 months so any demographic changes can be viewed
          • Cheap- due to the use of pre existing secondary data e.g. Dukheim's study on suicide - OS was used to establish correlation between religion and suicide- protestants more likely- suicide
            • Validity refers to the extent to which OS measure accurately what it claims to measure- covers whole population
              • Marxists argue OS are not reliable or valid and are socially constructed- capitalism is criminogenic- benefits bourgeoisie
                • Chambliss argues laws to protect private property help ruling elite- power to protect elite and prevent laws that affect RC property- not reflect valid picture of crime - true extent of white collar crime inaccurate according to marxists
                  • Snider views deviant acts as a result of corporate crime e.g. ford pinto criminals were never recorded on official stats as they were not charged - data in OS shows crime is mainlycommitted by WC men and ethinic minorities
                    • Reiman argues street crime and theft prioritized over white collar crime- so crimes that are convicted or criminalised are more likely to be WC orientated- joy riding and embezzlement
                      • Strider argues govenments reluctant to pass laws which threaten business profitability
                        • Bonger argues capitalism system is based on greed, selfishness and exploitation- sociologists argue OS mainly white collar crimes-OS controlled by and benefits bourgeoisie- ruling class not appear in OS
                          • Traditional marxists critisized as focus is placed too much on class ignoring the relationship between crime an gender/ethnicity- not all poor commit crime
                            • OS according to interactionists are of little use - realistic account of OS should use less positivist, quantitative methods and qualitative data to gain verstehen (reason behind criminal act)
                              • Interactionists- OS form unfair labels and stereotypes , police mre prejudice against certain ethnic minorities
                                • Cicourel in 'Social organization of Juvenile Justice' examined 2 towns with differen rates of juvenile crime- polic policy had determined tha rate of crime - in town 1- officers adopted casual approach, less crime recorded and less officers used so problem minimised- town 2- harsher approach was adopted are there were more arrests so problems had increased
                                  • OS may only tell us that police is being institutionally racist- labelling a crime and a criminal may lead to higher rates of conviction and crime rates based on the labels rather than the crime itself
                                    • Reiner, Muncie and Hiedensohn argue that a canteen culture is implemented as a result police react t negative labels e.g. ethnic minorities
                                      • Home office had shown in 2005 that members of black and minority ethnic groups (BME) were more likely to be arrested and stopped and searched as oppose to white people
                                        • Stop and search increased by 14% in 2005, with terrorism related searches increasing by 9%- sociologists may operate a canteen culture whih is reflected in convictions and OS
                                          • Holdaway's participant observation study of british police suggest occupational culture of police- police officers apply and implement the law using discretion to benefit themselves
                                            • Hobb's observational study of crime and policing in the east end show how police operate in a give and take trading relationship with criminals so occasionally ignoring offences in order to extract valuble information
                                              • Suggest OS are a suspect source of data for researcher- Hobb's and Holaway's research highlight OS may lack validity and relaibility as same events are not treated equally y police forces
                                                • Right realism views street crime as a growing issue which destroys communities, undermines social cohesion and threaten's society's work ethic- OS are reliable- reject marxist ideas that structural or economic problems (poverty) cause crime - old tend to be poor but have lower crime rates
                                                  • Left realism accepts OS that there has been a growth in WC crime due to changes in class structure- WC are more vulnerable
                                                    • Young (2002) living in a state of modern society where instability, exclusion and insecurity increase problems of crime - accepting of OS and do not deny usefulness of OS but understands they are flawed- OS crime stats should be supplemented with local victim surveys and advantages of quantitative survey tehcniques
                                                      • Feminsts argue OS lack relaibility as crimes against women are underrepresented- OS benefit men and are patriarichial - low conviction rates for rape and domestic violence - men not feature in OS as frequently as they should
                                                        • Dobash and Dobash found that women rarely come forward in the events of being subjected to abuse ' Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme' activated march 14- provided public with opportunity to ask about their concerns about their partners- higher rates of convictions
                                                          • Feminists argue that underestimation of female crime by police of judicial stereotypes
                                                            • Campell using a self report found that official crime rate (7 male to 1 female) reduced to 1 male to 1.2 female
                                                              • OS may lack validity as showing an increase or decrease in crime rate it does not mean that realistically there is- rise or decrease could be due to more offences being discovered or more acts being recorded or reported by police - dark figure of crime - no of crimes not reported - crimes unknown to police
                                                                • Hindness suggested OS are treated in positivist manner as factual data about crime is reported
                                                                  • However, BSC has shown in 1997 only 57% of robberies  and 26% of vandalism were reported and only 44% recorded
                                                                    • This is called the iceberg effect which is a key weakness of OS as showing they lack validity some stats are accurate e.g. burglary
                                                                      • OS can be critisized- Maguire argues that there have been changes in the way crimes are recorded- BCS has initiated more qualitative data research- interviews and observational techniques being used to enable domestic violence to be reported
                                                                        • This has become accessible via accident and emergency services reported by Home Office in 2000, BCS gathered detailed data on types of crime occuring e.g. victim losses - better understanding of crime committed e.g. environmental criminologists
                                                                          • Box argues more serious crimes such as white collar crimes often go unoticed and unreported so representativeness of OS can be questioned
                                                                            • OS according to Box represent selective law enforcement and are biased - typical crime emerge from official statistics- young, male, workign class, urban and black - OS at face value- truth about crime rate can be questioned
                                                                              • Conclusion: official stats are cheap and available source of data and show changes overtime- data can be combined with vicim surveys and self report studies- some sociologists argue stats need to be taken with caution- dark figure of crime unaccounted for so not representative
                                                                                • OS on their own could be misleading- BCS and self report show that there is more crime that presented on surface


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