Soc131-Lectures5and6 - Text Pages 36-55 How Much Crime Is...

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Text Pages 36-55 How Much Crime Is There? o One of the frustrations in studying criminal justice is the lack of accurate means of knowing the amount of crime. Surveys reveal that much more crime occurs than is reported to the police. o Dark Figure of Crime: A metaphor that emphasizes the dangerous dimension of crime that is never reported to the police. o Most homicides and auto thefts are reported to the police, but about 57% of rape or sexual assault victims do not report the attack, almost half of robbery victims and 54% of victims of simple assault do not do so. Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) o An annually published statistical summary of crimes reported to the police, based on voluntary reports to the FBI by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. o The UCR use standard definitions to ensure uniform data on 28 types of crimes. o For 8 major crimes, the data show factors such as age, race, and number of reported crimes solved. (Criminal homicide, Forcible Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Larceny/Theft, Auto Theft, Arson) o The UCR provide a useful but incomplete picture of crime levels. The National Crime Victimization Surveys o Interviews of samples of the US population conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics to determine the number and types of criminal victimizations and thus the extent of unreported as well as reported crime. o Interviews are conducted with a national probability of about 100,000 people in 50,000 households. The same people are interviewed twice a year for three years and asked if they have been victimized in the last six months. o Besides the household interviews, surveys are carried out in the nation’s 26 largest cities; separate studies are done to find out about the victimization of businesses. o Because the surveys are done by government employees, the people interviewed are unlikely to report crimes that they or a family member took part in. They also may not want to admit that a family member engages in crime, or they may be too embarrassed to admit that they have allowed themselves to be victimized more than once.
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Trends In Crime o The overall crime rate has declined each year from 1991 through 2000 o Age: changes in the age makeup of the population are a key factor in the analysis of crime trends. o It has long been known that men aged 16-24 are the most crime prone group. o Crack Cocaine: the huge increase in violent crime, especially homicide, in the late 1980s and early 1990s is now generally attributed to killings by young people aged 24 and under. These killings were driven by the spread of crack cocaine and the greater use of high powered semiautomatic handguns by young people in that market. Crime Victimization
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Soc131-Lectures5and6 - Text Pages 36-55 How Much Crime Is...

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