Measuring Crime- notes continued January 30 th Brief Recap Importance of Measures Scope of the Crime Problem Theory Testing Measurement Refinements Policy Making/Enforcement Limitations of (Any) Measure Approximations of “True Amount of Crime” Three Major Tools Used UCR-common crime bias o In 1940s, people realized that the UCR was leaving out a number of crimes (though still important).
SRD-sometimes get into the social desirability bias when asking criminals to self- report o It has it’s place, though might seem to over-report the less severe crimes o Used almost exclusively with juvenile offenders (limitation but that’s not to say you couldn’t follow out those folks for decades at a time) o Exposed a gap in what the policing data was able to give us (it is several steps removed from the behavior in question) NCVS-started looking at the experiences of the victims of crime putting us one step closer to the crime itself as Celine says o Pretty sophisticated and gives us a sense of almost twice as many crimes than what we get with the UCR o Clearly there is a discrepancy in what is turning up in policing statistics versus what victims are reporting o Remember though , this too is a survey-victims may bring crimes into the survey that had happened years prior, under-reporting crimes such as rape, etc. Putting the tools to the test Distribution of Crime- “Patterning” (vs. Chaotic) Temporal dimension o Overall-decreasing since 1990s o Time of day: 6pm-6am, schools are the safest during the day o Day of week: over the weekend (Friday and Saturday) o Particular months: July and August, and December* Geographical location o Regional variation- West and then the South as a close second o Rural, suburban and urban- Urban has the highest crime rate, then suburban and rural with the lowest (where the crime occurs and where it gets reported can skew rates a bit) Correlates of Crime o Age: ages 16-22 (page 130) o Race: huge disparities between African American and white offenders when looking at policing statistics, most crime is intra-racial o Social Class: households with less at $7,500 income have the highest victimization rates o Gender- female offenders have increased at a much faster rate than their male counterparts (whether or not women are increasing dramatically or is it an artifact of law enforcement being less chivalrous…) General Conclusions Importance of crime measures-much more to fear in terms of property crime versus violent crime, “target hardening” Potential limitations of measures- sometimes they may be stretched or used beyond the purposes for which they were intended
January 30 th Thinking about Crime Thinking about crime before we had crime! Life in the “pre-classical era” o Image of deviance and social control o Damiens’ execution-deviance is seen as sin and its control is seen as religious duty o Forces for change Classical School Developments Cesare Beccaria Essay on Crimes and Punishment (1764) A reasoned approach to crime control o Uniformity of justice- you cannot have crime without law; wanted a definitive sense of the behaviors identified by law and then the prescribed punishments that would go along with particular behaviors o Socially injurious o
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- Spring '14