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

'Evaluate the use and importance of official crime statistics both in the tracking of crime and the implementation of measures against it.'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Toni Shane Pilbrow Timed Essay 08/07/03 Q: 'Evaluate the use and importance of official crime statistics both in the tracking of crime and the implementation of measures against it.' This paper will consider which activities are officially counted as crime and feature in the official crime statistics, opening with a view as to why some activities do, whilst others, quite clearly and equally criminal, do not figure amongst these official statistics. This approach acknowledges that not all crimes, for whatever reasons, are reported to or acted upon by the police. We will consider serious and dangerous activities that some may deem equally criminal but which never find their way into the official statistics as a result of what Steven Box identifies as 'ideological mystification.' Having examined this paradoxical situation, we will consider the futility of using crime statistics in the tracking of crimes, and in the implementation of measures against them. Before addressing this question, it would be helpful to be aware of what official criminal statistics represent in reality, and what they can actually tell us. ...read more.

Middle

and which can be said to illustrate something of the disparity existent between the official statistics and peoples life experience of crimes. In 1982 and 1984, the BCS suggested that only about half of known crime is reported to the police. Since this is the case, and given the fact that very little is known about the bulk of criminal activity in Britain, the official crime statistics are far from representative of the reality of crime in Britain and so are of very little use in informing policy measures taken against it; although it could be argued that they may be of some use to certain politicians wishing to embark upon a law and order campaign. It could also be argued that these statistics may be used to "point the finger" at certain sections of the populace for purely political reasons. Steven Box (1981), poses the powerful argument, for example, that criminal laws are little more than ideological constructions representing the interests of an influential 'ruling elite'. ...read more.

Conclusion

In relation to our question, it would appear then that the official crime statistics are far from representative of the true extent and reality of crime in our society, and although the vast majority of people wish to be protected from the very real crimes featured in the official statistics, they are notoriously unreliable indicators of the incidence of crime or, indeed, of the types of crime being committed in contemporary Britain. Therefore, the remainder of the question seems to be a fruitless pursuit unless we wish to advocate various conspiracy theories and speak in terms of the official crime statistics serving purposes such as controlling targeted sections of the populace by tracking their particular activities and informing the measures taken in combating these, whilst simultaneously serving to cover up the crimes of the rich and powerful elite and distract attention from their activities. In point of fact, that line of argument would result in the assertion that the official crime statistics actually serve to help maintain this particular, current, status quo. Muncie, J. 1998. The Problem of Crime, London, Sage. Box, S. Crime power and ideological mystification. In Criminological Perspectives, Muncie, McLaughlin and Langan (Eds) 1998, London, Sage. 1 ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the Usefulness of Official Crime Statistics to a Sociological Understanding of Crime

    4 star(s)

    these crimes and even less to reporting it because of social attitudes. Those that do have the courage to report a sexual attack then have to relive the experience to a male dominated police force and judicial system. There are also instances where the individual doesn't realize that they have been a victim of a crime.

  2. How Accurate are Official Crime Statistics?

    they are looking to boost their own career, they may record more `straightforward` crimes, so that they can solve more cases, and benefit from a promotion. Some crimes are recorded, but due to work loads of officers may later be removed from records and classified as "non-crimes" in order to decrease heavy work schedules.

  1. Sociological Theories on Crime and Deviance

    DEVIANT CAREERS In the ordinary context of words, a career refers to the sequence of movements a person makes through different positions in an occupational system. A deviant career refers to the sequence of movements people make through a particular subculture of deviance.

  2. How influential is the media in shaping public understanding of crime?

    against the aged, and to make previously closed juvenile records available to the judge when elderly victim was attacked. If teens, the attackers were to be tried in adult court as adults. But, were crimes against the elderly really on the rise?

  1. Evaluate the accuracy of official statistics of crime.

    The 2000 British Crime Survey (BCS) is England's best known victimisation survey, had a nationally representative sample of 19,411 people aged 16 and above as well as a further ethnic booster sample of 3,874, the results play an important role in informing Home Office Policy.

  2. Critically evaluate Marxists contributions to the study of crime and deviance.

    (It is interesting to note that with age, Young has become less radical) Working class people are the victims of a great deal of working class crime and Young now recognises that the social controls provided by the state can protect working class people from crime and criminals.

  1. What have theories of deviance added to our understanding of crime? Why are there ...

    problems with the collection of data, did Merton have enough evidence about crime to make his assertions? It appears that his argument was more qualitative and not backed up by sufficient statistical (or otherwise) evidence. Sociologists of deviance do recognise the problems of using official information, thus using it cautiously

  2. Outline and Evaluate two or more sociological theories of the usefulness of crime statistics ...

    Sociologists explain deviant/ criminal behaviour in terms of people's social characteristics e.g. class and gender. They suggest that offenders could belong to certain social groups. Information from official sources and self reporting sources show that 80% of known offenders are male and 41% are under the age of 21 years old.

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