Advantages and Disadvantages of UCR o Strengths Consistent definitions across time and place Geographic coverage Covers more than 95% of the US A lot of information on serious crime o Limitations Excludes important crime categories More focused on street crimes Doesn’t include cooperate crimes, or organized crimes (genocide, terrorism, etc.) Has a very limited coverage of white collar crimes Hierarchy rule : the most important crime based on seriousness is recorded If theft, kidnapping, and murder occurred, only murder would be reported and the others dropped on UCR Excludes unreported crime (“Dark Figure of Crime”: average 50%, up to 70% for some crimes) Dark figure of crime : the gap between the actual amount of crime committed and the actual amount of crime reported to the police Low clearance rate Limited information on the offenders and victims Offenders: gender, age, and race only Nothing on the victims Could be biased Some jurisdictions could focus on certain crimes while other focus on another form of crime Advantages and disadvantages of NCVS o Strengths
Consistent definitions and methodology since 1973 Nationally representative Comparable to UCR Doesn’t depend on reporting to police Includes info about the victim Age, race, ethnicity, marital, status, income, and educational level, relations with offenders o Limitations Cannot be used to estimate one serious crime – murder Can’t interview someone who’s been murdered Excludes some other crimes (ex. Victimless crimes, crimes against small children, crimes against businesses) Victims may be under- or- over report Limited information on the offenders Advantages and disadvantages of self-reports survey o Strength Not limited to reported crimes Not affected by criminal justice system bias Can sample whatever population you want May include various characteristics of offenders: socio-economic (family or neighborhood); social psychology (e.g. attitudes, self-esteem, etc.); social relationships (family, peers); other behaviors (school, leisure), etc.… o Limitations Validity of self-reports (e.g., underreporting) The most serious crimes are rare and not measured well Geographic and population coverage limited Need to be aware who this information concern or cover
o Validity May lie May have reading comprehension problems May not remember correctly UCR Part I offenses o Part I offenses: Crimes know to police (index crimes) and arrests (by age, gender, race/ethnicity) Violent crime o Murder/non-negligent manslaughter o Forcible rape o Robbery o Aggravated assault Non-violent crime o Burglary o Larceny/theft o Motor vehicle theft o Arson the dark figure of crime o Dark figure of crime : the gap between the actual amount of crime committed and the actual amount of crime reported to the police The number of crimes that actually occur but are not recorded by the police uses of the three types of crime statistics o If you had to conduct the following studies, what sources of crime statistics would you use and why?
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- Fall '08
- property crime