Statistics and patterns of crime

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  • Created by: 11pyoung
  • Created on: 07-03-18 19:10
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  • Statistics and patterns of crime
    • Types of crime statistic
      • Police recorded statistics
        • Police-recorded statistics as social constructions
          • Reporting crime
            • Crimes cannot be collected if they are not reported in the first place.
              • High proportion of crimes are not reported at all to the police
                • Individuals are unlikely to report a crime to the police if it is:
                  • Too trivial to bother the police with
                  • A private matter
                  • Too embarrassing
            • People may not report crimes to the police if:
              • They are not in a position to give information
              • They may fear reprisals
            • People are more likely to report a crime if:
              • They see some benefit for themselves
              • They have faith in the police
          • Recording of crimes
            • Nearly one in five crimes go unreported
              • Total number of unreported crimes known as 'dark figure'
                • Can be estimated but not measured precisely
          • The role of the police
            • Police are filtering the information that the public give them based on the following factors:
              • Seriousness
                • Whether the offence is trivial or not
              • Classifying
                • Police officer's opinion determines the category and seriousness of the crime
              • Discretion
                • Anderson et al
                  • Youths that cooperated with the police are far less likely to be arrested than those who don't
              • Social Status
                • May regard the social status of the person reporting the crime as not being high enough to warrant pursuing the crime.
          • The Dark Figure
            • It is impossible to be precise about the proportion of crime that is unreported to the police
          • The role of the Courts
            • Statistics reflect the decisions of the court
            • British courts work on the assumption that most people will plead guilty
              • 75% do so
          • The role of government and law enforcement agencies
            • Changing social attitudes can influence the behaviour of the police
        • Drawn from records kept by the police and other official agencies
        • Published every 6 months by the home office
          • Collected since 1847
            • Provides an excellent historical overview of changing trends over time
        • Gives an accurate  view of the way the justice system processes offenders through arrests, trials, punishments etc
      • Victim studies
        • Surveys asking a sample of people whether they have been victims of crime, and whether it was reported to the police.
        • Useful for estimating unrecorded crime and looking at trends
          • But doesn't cover victimless crimes
        • Strengths
          • Overcomes the fact that a significant proportion are ever recorded by the police
        • Weaknesses
          • The problem of basing statistics on victim's memeories is that recollectors are often faulty or biased
          • The categorisation of the crime which was committed against the victim is left down to the victim
          • Victim surveys usually omit a range of crimes
          • Despite being anonymous, many sexual crimes remain underreported
        • Patterns of Victimisation
          • Produced interesting findings on the patterns of victimisation
      • Self-report studies
        • Surveys asking people if they have committed crimes
          • Sometimes conducted by government organisations
        • Rely on truthfulness of respondents
        • Useful for showing the types of people who commit crime
        • Weaknesses
          • The problem of Validity
            • Respondents may lie or exaggerate
          • The Problem of Representativeness
            • Most self-report studies are on young people and students
          • The problem of Relevance
            • The majority of crimes uncovered tend to be trivial

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