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Describe the meaning of official statistics, victim surveys and self-reported studies as ways of measuring crime. Which on do you think provides the best means of measuring crime.

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~ Crime and Policing ~ ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? _________________________________________ A crime is held to be an offence when it goes beyond the personal and into the public sphere, braking prohibitory rules or laws, Haralambos et al (1996). For crime to be known as such it must first come to the attention of, and be processed through an administrative system or enforcement agency. Official Criminal statistics are provided by official agencies such as the police and courts but also from criminological research studies. In Britain official statistics are published annually and provide to main types of data. Firstly, they contain the total number of crimes known to the police. Secondly, official statistics often provide information on the social characteristics of those involved in crime. In Britain these statistics often show a rise in crime and constantly show that some sectors of society are, more involved in crime than others for example young working class males and some ethnic minorities. Once Held to reflect accurately the incidence of crime in society, Official statistics are now interpreted with caution. There are three main criticism associated with official. Firstly In order for a crime to become a part of the official statistics it must be Reported to and recorded by police. ...read more.


Most of the unreported crimes are of the less serious type. However, this method of collecting data is not totally reliable experts such as Jock Young, (1988) pointed to three main reasons for this. Firstly, around 20-30 percent of people asked refuse to co-operate with researchers. Thus data is based on typical respondents and the absence of those who are likely to be untypical of the population may lead to distorted figures. Secondly, victims may conceal certain crimes because of feelings of guilt or embarrassment. Therefore crimes such as rape, domestic violence, sexual crimes are likely to be underreported. Lastly Definitions and of crime cannot help but reflect the views and opinion of the day. Changes in public perception may mean that people are more willing to report some crimes than others are. Therefore statistics or trends produced by these surveys are not entirely reliable and should be considered with caution. Importantly victimisation surveys allude to the underreporting and recording of crime for this reason they are possibly more reliable than the official statistics. Self-report studies e.g. Campbell "Delinquent Girls", attempt to provide a more realistic picture of the characteristics of those who commit crime. ...read more.


For example, victimisation surveys uncover some crimes not reported to the police such as vandalism and self-reported studies uncover the types of offences and offenders likely to be convicted. On balance, both victimisation surveys and self-report studies are likely to be more useful than official statistics, self-report studies in particular suggest that both official statistics and victim statistics largely under report some crimes. However, there are two general limitations with crime statistics whether provided by criminal justice agencies, victims or offenders. Firstly only a certain type of criminal event can be researched and secondly only a certain type of participant is interviewed. For example, victimisation surveys and self report studies only focus on the personal crimes of the people who are prepared to participate, thereby excluding for example business crimes, and crimes against children. Whereas official statistics gather a wide range of data on a wide range of criminal events from a wider pool of participants, but do not include data on crimes where there is no immediate victim or they do not come forward. Reference: Deviancy, Reality and society, Steven Box, 1981, Macmillan press, London. Risk of crime and fear of crime: a realist critique of survey based assumptions, Jock young 1988, in Maguire, Morgan and pointing. ...read more.

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