Sociologists view on statistics

Functionslist view on statistics

  • Functionalists believe in the existence of social facts and measuring social behaviour scientifically.
  • Trust quantitative data - see it as reliable and representative.
  • See the police as representing all of us and not question their motives.
  • Most explainations use the term 'typical criminal' - young, working class males - as a starting point to explaining crime. 
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Interactionists view on statistics

  • Focus on the social construction of crime statistics
  • Paying particular attention to police labelling and the consequences of interactions between certain powerless groups in society and the police and the courts. 
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New Right view on statistics

  • New Right and Right Realists accept the official picture of the typical criminal presented by the police recorded figures, since they too believe that laws are made for society and applied equally.
  • The police are representing the interests of the whole society.
  • Focus on explaining criminality amongst the most deprived sections of society - underclass - since statistics suggest most crime is committed by such people.
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Left Realists view on statistics

  • Recognise the police figures are not perfect, but they should not be dismissed, because they are about real crimes.
  • They suggest police recorded figures should be supplemented by other methods, such as victim surveys.
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Feminist view on statistics

  • Accept the official picture thst females commit significantly less crime than males ansd try to explain why.
  • Look at high levels of social control applied to females.
  • Some feminists focus on the way female offenders are treated differently by the police and in the courts. 
  • Argue that male crime against women is underreported in the crime statistics. 
  • They don't challenge the idea of the typical criminal being male, but do challenge the accuracy of the statistics.
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Marxist view on statistics

  • See police recorded crime figures as a tool to control the working class and justify their control and oppression.
  • Police used to scare us and justify more policing.
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Radical Criminologists view on statistics

  • Tend to focus on the power of police to label for political reasons.
  • Ideas have been used to challenge the over representation of certain ethnic minority groups in the police recorded figures.
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