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

How Accurate are Official Crime Statistics?

Extracts from this document...


How Accurate are Official Crime Statistics? Bex Lycett Official crime statistics are statistics released by the home office each year to show the amount of crime that has been committed. They are gathered from records kept as each individual police force in England and Wales and are widely accepted as a true and accurate measure of crime, however there are reasons why some people do not accept that this is the case. Apart from recording how many crimes have been committed in a year, crime statistics have other uses too; they are used to track patterns and rising/falling levels of crime over a number of years, and can highlight trends etc. Also they can be used to help with crime prevention measures, if for example there was an increase in street muggings, more police money and time would be dedicated to helping patrol the streets. Furthermore the statistics can show areas of high crime and will help the government see where more money is needed to establish a bigger or stronger police force. A final usage of official crime statistics is by academics, psychologists, sociologists and criminologists for example may find them useful, if they were investigating crime in the community, or investigating a certain type of crime. Many would argue however that official crime statistics are not the best resource for studying crime levels. ...read more.


"part of life", in the past for example many people simply accepted domestic violence as a common part of marriage, and something that could be resolved by the couple themselves. When the man is the victim of domestic violence too, or a child is being abused, the crimes often go unreported, due to the shame of telling, and fear of not being believed. Also minor crimes, n which the victim feels that due to the fact the police will not pursue the case, or they do not want the hassle of making a statement, the crime for example vandalism to a fence is seen as too minor and so people deal with the situation themselves. Gang crimes often go unreported due to the fact that they tend to "sort things" themselves, taking the law into their own hands, rather than seek retribution from the state, they go out and seek it directly from the perpetrator themselves, often reciprocating with a similar act of violence, which they had previously been a victim of, e.g.- you hurt my friend, I hurt you, this is because they see the method as more effective and brings with it a higher status than reporting the crime to the authorities does. Other reasons for not reporting the police include, being scared of the person who carried out the crime, a drug dealer beating up a drug addict who has not paid him would be an example of this, the crime may be reported to other authorities, like the council, medical boards etc. ...read more.


The most popular victim survey is the British crime survey, which has been carried out regularly since 1982. The problem with this method is that relying on victim's memory can often cause facts to become distorted therefore, statistics become confused. Also there is a problem in that victims are categorising the crimes themselves, and so it may exaggerate some forms of crime, making them out to be more or less serious. Studies found too that types of corporate crime tended to be ignored; due to there it is seen as "minor" compared to assault for example. Sexual crimes also tend not to be reported; due to the stigma's attached to them. Young people are too excluded from this survey, and so a large majority of the population is ignored, and this means that victims of on going child abuse cant report being a victim. To conclude, it seems that after looking the evidence, official crime statistics are not an accurate measure of crime, but whatever method of gathering crime statistics is used, all of them have major flaws, however based on the fact that a large majority of the official crime statistics flaws are based on police behaviour, it would seem easiest to improve police techniques and standards when it comes to recording crime, as opposed to bringing in new techniques, simply modify current ones. ...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. 'Evaluate the use and importance of official crime statistics both in the tracking of ...

    However, statistics such as these do not tell us that, as Box indicates, far more serious crimes and criminality occur on a regular basis yet go unnoticed. A large number of these offences are crimes committed by the rich and powerful, which are carried out on the relatively powerless; real

  2. The purpose of crime scene investigation is to help establish what happened at the ...

    Good judgment must be maintained and common sense usually plays a role. Each different item must be placed in separate containers to prevent cross- contamination. It is also wise to take comparative samples, so that evidence can be compared to normal or controlled pieces.

  1. Evaluate the accuracy of official statistics of crime.

    The media amplify deviance and create moral panics for example; if in a certain area a certain crime was bad then the media could pick up on it. And amplify it leading to a moral panic. In such a case police may concentrate on the specific area leading to the crime rate going down.

  2. Describe the meaning of official statistics, victim surveys and self-reported studies as ways of ...

    Consequently, official statistics portray crime as predominately working class behaviour. Social class is the key to many sociological explanations of crime (e.g.. Merton Cohen, Cloward and Ohlin, and miller) although this may not be justified or even dangerous. Victimisation and self-reporting surveys do not rely on police records and attempt to overcome the limitations of the official statistics.

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

    The results of figure 4 illustrate that a majority of 65% of respondent felt the Island was much safer than mainland Britain. However, some of the respondents felt it varied according to the area. 25% said it was only a little safer.

  2. To what extent do official crime statistics provide a realisable estimate of the amount ...

    whole and by type of crime; and certain characteristics such as sex and age, of convicted offender. The British Crime Survey (BCS) is a yearly survey that collects data on crimes in England and Wales. This data is collected through randomly sent out questionnaires.

  1. My hypothesis is 'peoples fears of crime is not justified' I plan to find ...

    The amount of ... Vandalism 22 Drugs 15 7: What crime are you most afraid of? Many different: mainly violent crimes and Burglary 8: Would your fear of crime prevent yes: 29 No: 44 you from doing anything? Please specify what you wouldn't do. Mainly not go out at night.

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

    However, the police do not always record all crime. Police do not record crime that they feel is too trivial or the matter may be a mistake. All crime that is reported and recorded goes together to form the official crime statistics, this is gathered in regions and forms the national crime statistics.

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