Essay The Main Measures Of The Crime

Essay The Main Measures Of The Crime

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In general, official statistics of crime recorded by the police and surveys of the public such as victim surveys and self-report studies are the three main measures of the extent of crime in Britain. The oldest method is to rely on official data collected by criminal justice agencies, such as data on arrests or convictions. The other two rely on social surveys. In one case, individuals are asked if they have been victims of crime; in the other, they are asked to self-report their own criminal activity. (Terence P. Thornberry and Marvin D. Krohn) Although these are a main secondary source of quantitative data, each of them may contain some drawbacks. Thus, this essay will introduce these three methods and demonstrates their disadvantages, such as the police crime statistics exclude the unreported and unrecorded crime; the victim surveys such as British Crime Survey do not include ‘victimless’ crime and respondents may not report their true experiences of being a victim; and the self-report studies such as the Offending, Crime and Justice Survey (OCJS) also fail to question people who are homeless and living in institutions, in order to show that these statistics do not provide people with a full picture of how much crime in reality.

To begins with the oldest method, official statistics of crime collected by the police in the UK since 1857. The police records crime reported by the public in 43 police force areas and provides these data to the Home Office and for their Basic Command Units. These data provide a wealth of statistical information on recorded crime rates and possibly identify long-term trends in recorded crime rates. Due to such data collecting process, how crime being reported by the victims or witnesses and recorded...

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...has its drawbacks. First of all, the OCJS only focus young people and fails to interview adults about their committed offences. Next, since the OCJS is a self-reported survey, interviewees are not necessary to report the truth about their participation in crimes. For example, they may amplify or pretend they have committed some crimes in the OCJS secretly and there may not have any consequences with that. On the other hand, they may not reveal offences they have really involved as it is not compulsory and probably because of social desirability effect. It means that respondents may hide their true experiences of involving in some crimes, such as taking drugs and drunk drives, as it is uncomfortable to report. Thus bias may appear in the OCJS when estimating the number of such illegal activities because of social desirability concern. (Tourangeau and Smith, 1996).

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