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Methods: Getting the measure of crime

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Student No: 2435448 Methods: Getting the measure of crime What practical problems does the criminologist face in going about his business? What does an informed examination of hidden crime tell us about (1) official criminal statistics and (2) The nature of social order? Are there such things as victimless crimes? Why? In my essay I will first talk about crime and what it means, I will then talk about what different methods criminologists use to collect crime such as crime surveys and self report studies and there positive and negative sides. I will then go on to talk about victimless crimes. The definition of crime is something that is punishable by the criminal justice system, and is "An act punishable by law, as being forbidden by statute or injurious to the public welfare... an evil or injurious act, an offence, a sin." (Robert.R 2002) The Dark figure of crime is the amount of crime which is unreported or unknown The total amount of crime in a community consists of crimes which are known or recorded and the dark figure of crime. Criminologists have used differing methods (like victimization surveys) ...read more.


(William.K,2001) Another way of collecting crimes rates is by self report studies, these can be in the form of a questionnaire or interview. Self report studies are mainly used to test hypothesis about the reasons for crime rather then how much is committed. In the questionnaire form people can tick how often or how many times they have committed certain crimes. In the interview form they may be asked questions in greater detail, examples of questions that are asked are peoples class, race, religion, sex and age. It has been found that self report studies record levels of criminal statistics above the official figure, so may be useful in assessing the dark figure in respect to particular offences. Although self report studies have positive effects they also raise a number of problems, participants may not be telling the truth and may be putting down what they think people want to hear. Validity may also be a problem, participants may have forgotten crimes they have committed or may not consider them to be crimes. (Williams.K,2001) There are also Local crime surveys, these are concerned about the tendency of the British crime survey to distort the real experience of crime, especially those of women, children, ethnic minorities and the very poor, writers have designed local surveys. ...read more.


From the bibles perspective, there is no such thing as victimless crime. A violation of Gods law renders the offender guilty before God, no matter how few people are involved. "John wrote - sin is the transgression of the law and all unrighteousness is sin" (ICR,2005) Official statistics give us a distorted picture of criminality. The more involved it becomes the less representative it is of the official type. The least reliable statistics to use for the idea of the size of crime problem, types of crimes committed or types of people who commit crimes are the prison statistics. These are probably a better indication of why people are caught and prosecuted rather then why they committed the crime, and although the different surveys which criminologists use to discover more about the dark figure show a higher criminal statistics then the official figure, this could be due to people including things which they believe is a crime when its not. People have different perceptions of the word crime which can sometimes cause a problem, and can also cause this figure to be inaccurate. ...read more.

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