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

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Introduction

Using the example of violent crime show the strengths and weaknesses of police recorded crime figures. According to the Home Office "Police statistics provide a good measure of trends in well reported crimes, are an important indicator of police workload, and can be used for local crime pattern analysis" (Home Office 2004). Violent crime has always been an issue of concern for both the government and the public. Reports of attacks occur daily in the media and in official crime statistics. One issue that remains is how reliable these statistics are, are they unnecessarily creating an atmosphere of panic and tension within the general public or do they provide a reliable measure of the rate of violent crime today? Modern crime statistics today are taken from various sources, local levels, courts, the British Transport Police, and the British Crime Survey. In comparison to the 1940s and 50s when crime statistics were formulated by a small number of criminologists "working in academic or clinical settings" (Maguire 2002 p324), one might come to the conclusion that the information available today is more reliable and ecologically valid. However, extensive research into these new methods and approaches has found new weaknesses and strengths. One main example of statistical sources introduced in recent years is the British Crime Survey introduced to Britain in 1982. This, in theory, provides a more reliable picture of crime as it includes crimes that are not reported to the police, they are based on police interviews. ...read more.

Middle

population so the "dark figure" of crime is not addressed contrary to the claims of the Home Office (Comparing BCS estimates and police counts of crime 2004 p1). In recent years the government has introduced extensive electronic technology for the purpose of analysing crime statistics, examples of these include victim surveys, national and local record systems maintained by the police, national databases for offenders (the offenders index), databases for offences (the homicide index) and data warehouses to house the combined information. There have also been advances in the analytical tools available, for example the introduction of computer packages for multivariate analysis, location of offences and identification of hot-spots (Maguire 2002 p325). In theory these advances would result in more reliable crime statistics, however there are weaknesses; if social exclusion, stereotypes and discrimination are issues within the criminal justice system then these tools are unreliable as they are simply promoting and publicising these discriminations. This in turn could result in an increase in social exclusion and lead to less focus on other areas that could be affected by violent crime. There have also been increases in the overall capacity of the criminal justice system, therefore is it possible that the increase in the number of arrests and convictions may not represent actual changes in the amount of crime but could represent the capacity of the system to process the individual cases of violent crime as the result of more policemen, courtrooms, judges and prisons? ...read more.

Conclusion

of the statistics obtained, this again contains many contradictions such as discrimination, stereotyping and social exclusion, these factors continue to affect the validity of violent crime statistics. The final and arguably most important problem remaining is that especially with violent crime it is impossible to ever obtain complete figures as many victims fail to report crimes committed against them, this is especially the case with situations where the victim has no outlet or psychological factors dominate such as, child abuse, domestic violence and rape Sources Used: Barclay, G (ed.) (1993) Digest 2 Information on the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales. The Home Office. Barclay, G (ed.) (1995) The Criminal Justice System. The Home Office. Home Office (2004), 2002-2003 British Crime Survey (England and Wales) Technical Report Volume 1 http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs04/bcs0203tech1.pdf Home Office (2004), Comparing BCS estimates and police counts of crime 2003/2004 http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs04/comparingbcs.pdf Home Office (2004), Crime in England and Wales 2003, 2004 http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/crimeew0304.html Maguire, M. (2002) Crime Statistics: The 'Data Explosion' and its Implications in Maguire, M. et al (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Oxford, Oxford University Press. pp323-370 Mayhew, P., Aye-Maung, N and Mirrlees-Black, C. (1994) The 1992 British Crime Survey. HMSO. Muncie, J. (2001) The Construction and Deconstruction of Crime in Muncie, J. and McLaughlin, E. (eds.) (2001) The Problem of Crime. Sage. 2nd Edition. Muncie, J. and McLaughlin, E. (2001) The Sage Dictionary of Criminology. London, Sage. pp195-196 ?? ?? ?? ?? Library Card: 04023308 - 1 - ...read more.

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