Crime and Deviance Research Methods - Official Statistics and Self Report Studies

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Reporting of Crime

Not all crimes are reported to the police, which clearly has a huge impact on the validity of crime statistics

Some reasons why crimes may be unreported are:

  • Fear of reprisals
  • The crime may involve a family member or a friend
  • The incident may be seen as too trivial to report
  • Fear or distrust of the police
  • Embarrassment
  • Lack of awareness that a crime has been committed

Recording Crime

Not all crimes are recorded by the police, which has a huge impact on the validity of crime statistics

Some reasons the police may not record a crime

  • They do not believe a crime has been committed
  • The police use their discretion and issue a warning or advice without making it official
  • If the police arrested every drunk causing a nuisance on a Saturday night, the police would have too much work to do and the cells would be too full
  • The priorities of the chief constable will also make a difference

British Crime Survey

Advantages

  • Victim surveys such as the BCS provide a more valid measure of crime than using police records alone
  • The allow comparisons to be made between variables
  • As they are carried out using the same questions each year, they should be more valid…

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