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Introduction. CJ601. Research in CJ. Consuming vs. producing research Evaluating research—see example p. 4-5 Knowledge —agreement, common sense crime victimization and the elderly punishment severity and deterrence. Research. Knowledge that is the result of empirical research

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Research in cj
Research in CJ

  • Consuming vs. producing research

  • Evaluating research—see example p. 4-5

  • Knowledge

  • —agreement, common sense

    crime victimization and the elderly

    punishment severity and deterrence


  • Knowledge that is the result of empirical research

  • Empirical—based on systematic observation

  • Example: Differential association

Errors in observation
Errors in observation

  • Inaccurate observation

  • Overgeneralizing

  • Selective observation

    Adolescent sex offenders and planning skills—more complicated than thought

    Illogical reasoning

    Superstition, gambler’s fallacy

Politics and cj
Politics and CJ

  • Controversy over crime

  • “Liberals” vs. “conservatives”

  • Death penalty

  • Racial profiling

  • War on Drugs

  • Guns and crime

  • Prisons as country clubs

Social patterns
Social patterns

  • Search for regularities

  • Example: most common pattern is that males kill males, least common pattern is female-female

  • Crime in the US tends to be intraracial

  • There are exceptions to the patterns

  • The pattern tells us what is more common

  • Probabilities (odds, percentages for ex)


  • Idiographic vs. nomothetic

  • Idiographic—a case study, for example

  • Charles Manson

  • Serial killers

  • Might thoroughly explain a case

  • Nomothetic—try to explain a class of events. There will be exceptions or cases that don’t fit


  • Attributes are characteristics, quality we might use to describe someone

  • Variables are logical groupings of attributes

  • Gender—variable, attributes are male and female

  • Unemployed, work part time, work full time are attributes of employment status


  • Sentence might be the variable, attributes could include fine, probation, jail, prison

  • Independent and dependent variables

  • One variable (IV) has an effect on another (DV)

  • Does level of supervision (IV) affect delinquency (DV)?

  • Other examples?


  • Inductive: specific to the general, observations to pattern

  • Durkheim (father of sociology)

  • Deductive: testing a general idea

  • Social capital and crime

  • Peer pressure and crime

Types of data
Types of data

  • Qualitative—descriptive

  • Interviews and observations

  • Quantitative—measuring in terms of numbers

  • Qualitative “religious”

  • Quantitative—church attendance, amount of time reported praying, reading religious works, etc, self-ratings, ratings of others

Crime rates in the us
Crime rates in the US

  • Rise beginning in the late 1950s

  • Continuing into the mid 1980s, began to level off, with some increase into the 1990s

  • Declines in the 1990s to the present

  • NYC, decline in homicide by 2/3 from early 1990s to 2002

  • Why?

Basis for comparison
Basis for comparison

  • General decline in crime in the US, not just New York city

  • International comparisons: crime also increased and decreased in other industrialized nations, even though rates vary from country to country, and our violent crime rates are higher

  • Why?


  • Comparisons force us to look at various possibilities that might not otherwise be considered

  • Ex: Comparisons of crime rates and incarceration rates, by state or with other countries

  • Ex: guns and crime

Policy implications
Policy implications

  • Crime more common among the young, declines with age

  • Supported by all 3 measures of crime

  • Interviews of offenders

  • Longitudinal studies

  • Common pattern, some exceptions

  • Cannot be entirely explained by incarceration


  • What are the implications for long prison sentences?

  • 3 strikes and you’re out laws?

  • In deciding policy what are some other considerations besides this research?