• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically Discuss Some of the Problems Associated With the Measurement of Crime.

Extracts from this document...


John Heath Return to Study: Introduction To The Study Of Crime With Dawn. Critically Discuss Some of the Problems Associated With the Measurement of Crime. There are several factors that need to be considered when looking at and using official crime statistics. One of the main things to consider is who is producing the statistics? Who ever it is they have a purpose for the production and the results will almost inevitably show a bias towards their ideals. The most realistic form of crime statistic is derived from victim surveys. This is individuals are contacted either by phone or post and their experiences of crime recorded. The Home Office produces the most extensive victim survey. It is called the British Crime Report (BCS) and is produced approximately every two years. The report indicates one of the faults with crime figures released by the police service. A prime example is that between 1981 and 1987 the police figures indicated that crime had increased by 30% but the BCS survey shows an actual increase of 41%. There are a vast number of crimes that remain unreported. I will discuss this in more detail later in the essay. As mentioned above one of the reasons that any crime figure may be inaccurate is that many crimes are simply not reported. ...read more.


The crimes may not be reported to prevent a negative image of the company and a scaring of potential investors. For these reasons it is often very difficult to prosecute in these cases. 'In 1990 Ernest Saunders (ex-chairman of Guinness) was found guilty of theft (one theft amounted to �2.6m, a second to �5.2m) false accounting and conspiracy.' (The Sociology of Crime and Deviance: Interpreting the figures.) There are also reasons that the police do not report crimes. A policeman may not report that he has moved a person on for breach of peace if he is called to another crime. He may see it as unnecessary due to it being a minor offence. Another form of crime that is not represented within official figures is crime that has not been detected. It is very hard to say to what extent this affects the figures, as it is impossible to say how many crimes have been committed without detection. An undetected crime in an extreme case may be that a missing person report would remain as such until a body is recovered. The manner of death would need to be suspicious before it may become a murder case. So an undiscovered or undetected crime would be unable to be indicated. ...read more.


There are other factors to consider such as the representation within the figures themselves. The Home Office figures from 1999 show that between 1998 and 1999 there was a 6% drop in violent crimes. This breaks down to a 9.9%decrease of violence against the person, a 2.2% increase in sexual offences and a 5.6% increase in robbery. So from this it fair to say that there was an overall decrease in violent crime. To do this would be correct but should it be scrutinised further it is clear that the reduction was only in one area of that type of crime. There may be reasons for that decline which would invalidate it. There may have been less cases of violence against a person reported due to a lack of confidence in the police or the idea that it can be resolved without their involvement. The figure for robbery may have increased because there was a police targeting campaign against those offences. The sexual offences may have increased as suggested by the police because they are making more efforts to gain women's confidences. So it would not indicate that the crime was being committed more just that it is being reported more. So as we can see though I have not used a complete list of reasons. Those mentioned clearly indicate that the figures will be inaccurate. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Describe and Evaluate the Use of Victim Surveys as a Measurement of Criminal Activity

    This is because sometimes they feel that: The police are not interested, The matter is too trivial to report, They dealt with matters themselves, They can't trust the police etc. In 1996 the BCS asked a number of victims why they reported crime to the police.

  2. Criminology - "Corporate and white-collar crimes are less serious than other kinds of crime, ...

    This is mainly in regard to the employer being negligent about the health and safety of their employees. The results of this can be "large scale death and injury"8, with many lives at risk because an employer may have decided to cut corners with health and safety.

  1. Using the example of violent crime show the strengths and weaknesses of police recorded ...

    The BCS also has very broad categories, the only section that refers to violent crime is wounding, it could be argued that this category is too wide and could not be analysed effectively. However, figures show that the response rate for wounding for under 16s was 91%, this high response

  2. The purpose of this report is to present the problems and results of an ...

    'It has been documented that much of the spray paint used in graffiti is stolen, and that, in fact, part of the thrill of writing graffiti is stealing the paint.' (Geason and Wilson 1990) The other part of the thrill is the fear of prosecution while attempting to write on publicity places at nighttime.

  1. My hypothesis I expect to find that the official crime statistics in ...

    Methodology In order to carry out this investigation I will need to find out the real crime rate in my area, there are a number of ways in which I could do this, the two used by most sociologists are self report studies and victim surveys, I believe that people

  2. This research project attempts to contrast local crime trends with the British Crime Survey ...

    the attitudes to crime and to ascertain whether participants were satisfied with policing policies. The questions were fixed choice questions. This research method was used, as firstly, it is relatively cheap. Secondly, it maintains the anonymity of the participants and therefore lies within the British ethical guidelines.

  1. What institutional problems and social concerns were associated with the establishment and rise of ...

    (Met History), "This entailed the division of the people into groups of ten, called "tythings", with a tything-man as representative of each; and into larger groups, each of ten tythings, under a "hundred-man" who was responsible to the Shire-reeve, or Sheriff, of the County".


    offences involve the willing exchange of desired goods or services between adults. There are exceptions to these main beliefs, which Bedau accepts, such as drunkenness or drugs use, which involve no transaction. The production, distribution and use of drugs usually fall quite easily into these values.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work