Measuring Crime

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  • Created by: Tom
  • Created on: 13-04-14 16:15

police crime figures unrepresentative

Police crime figures don't reflect full extent of crime in britain

  • police records only report crimes known to the police. Not all crime is reported
  • police don't record all crime that's reported to them
  • not all offences count as crimes to be recorded by the police
  • official rules and definitions change
  • 1998 new guidelines allowed police to record more incidents as crime, led to 15% increase in crime rates
  • official records show crime increased by two thirds between 1981 and 1995, with a very sharp peak between 1989 and 1992
  • Highest number of crimes recorded by police was 6 million in 2003/4
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victim surveys include C+D not reported to police

  • anonymous survey, more representative than police crime figures. Large sample size + high response rate
  • most important survey is British Crime Survey. Interviews 14,000 and asks about their experiences of being a victim of crime over previous year. Survey results are applied to the whole UK population.
  • BCS has indiciated a significant level of unrecorded crime. In 1007/8 BCS showed 27% of crimes were vandalism, with the police figures showing only 21%. The BCS showed burglary as 7% of all crime, compared to 12% of all police recorded crime.
  • Victim surveys and police figures reveal the same broad trends. Crime rose in 1980's and early 1990's. Since 2002 there has been small drop in crime. 2007/8 BCS levels of crime lowest ever recorded since in began in 1981.
  • Problems with reliability of victim surveys:
  • only interview a small % of the population
  • doesn't survey all crime, e.g crimes against business
  • no under-16's interviewed
  • Jock Young(1988) - questioned validity of victim surveys ny pointing out that each respondents definition of what's criminal is different
  • some people are more willing to reveal their experiences than others
  • they have a place in research, but they don't give a true full picture of crime
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self report studies ask people about crime they co

self report studies ask people about crime they commit

  • ask respondents to reveal crime they have committed
  • less widely used than victim surveys
  • anonymous and representative of the population
  • respondents may not believe their crimes won't be reported to others, such as police
  • they have been important in researching who commits crime
  • Steve Box(1981) - Juvenile crime was not a working class crime as had been widely argued
  • Maguire(1997) - most respondents admitted commiting some crime at some point in their life. Evidence against social class arguement
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official stats show fear of C+D rising

  • stats show public fear of being a victim of crime is rising
  • public constantly overestimates the actual amount of crime in Britain. People believe crime rate rising faster than it is. More fear being a victim of crime than ever are actual victims
  • Stark difference between level of crime and fear of crime attributed to the media. Tabloid newspapers use alarmist headlines about crime to grab attention. These exaggerate the chances of being a victim of crime - creates fear/panic
  • Home Office Statistical Bulletin(2003) - those who read tabloid newspapers twice as likely to fear crime as those who read broadsheets or didn't read newspapers
  • Fletcher and Allen(2003) - several factors affect fear of crime - locality, health, age, perception of disorder + if person previously victim of crime
  • Pantizas and Gordon(1999) - analysed household surveys - those with lowest incomes were likely to fear crime, but those with highest incomes were actually most likely to be victims of crime. - Due to consequences of crime being more severe for people too poor to insure property or buy replacements
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