Recording Crime

Why not all crimes are included in the official crime statistics

  • Created by: Lollipop
  • Created on: 13-06-12 13:45


  • If a crime is observed and identified as a crime, the police may be informed
  • However, if a crime has not been detected, it cannot be reported to the police and cannot be counted in official statistics
  • Many crimes therefore go undetected and are not included in official crime statistics eg. a thief taking £5 from a wallet may go undetected by the owner and would not be detected as a crime
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  • Someone reports to the police that a crime has been committed or the police observe a crime
  • However, many crimes are not reported to the police so they can't record them
  • Some reasons for not reporting a crime are:
    • The victims may fear the consequences from the criminals if they report the crime
    • The victims may fear the police
    • The crime is considered too private eg. domestic violence
    • The victim suffered no loss
    • It is thought that the police will not be interested and will do nothing
    • It may be too sensitive or embarrassing eg. ****
    • Crime in the workplace may not be reported because the company may prefer to dismiss the person rather than involve the police
  • However, a reason for the increase in certain crimes being reported is that people are more willing to report the crime
  • Also, there are increased police sensitivity, specially trained police officers and change in attitudes have lead to an increase in reporting some crimes
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  • The police decide to record the report of a crime - however, only about 40% of the offences reported to the police are actually recorded by them
  •  The police may not be necessarily record an act as a crime for several reasons:
    • The reported crime is seen as too trivial
    • The reported crime was not actually a crime
    • The complainant may decide not to proceed with a complaint
    • The police may decide there is not enough evidence of an offence having been committed to justify a criminal investigation
  • Official statistics therefore lack validity
  • They do not measure all crime that occurs and therefore they obscure the true extent of crime
  • Sociologists argue that official statistics ignore the dark (or hidden) figure of crime
  • A very small proportion of actual crime is ever reported and recorded in official statistics
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