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The Nature of Crime and Victimization - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Chapter 2. The Nature of Crime and Victimization. Measuring Crime. Primary sources for measuring crime are: Official Data (Uniform Crime Reports) Victim Surveys (National Crime Victim Survey) Self-Report Surveys. Weaknesses of the Uniform Crime Reports.

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Chapter 2

The Nature of Crime and Victimization

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Measuring Crime

  • Primary sources for measuring crime are:

  • Official Data (Uniform Crime Reports)

  • Victim Surveys (National Crime Victim Survey)

  • Self-Report Surveys

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Weaknesses of the Uniform Crime Reports

  • They only measure crime reported to the police

  • All crime is not counted the same

    • Indexed crimes are measured when reported

    • Non-indexed crimes are counted when an arrest is made

  • Reporting practices

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Revising the Uniform Crime Reporting System

  • Definitions of crimes will be revised.

  • Counting method will be by the number of incidents.

  • More crimes will be included in each category.

  • Other changes to make the data more accurate.

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National Crime Victim Survey

  • Data is gathered by the Bureau of Census and compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

  • Sample includes 100,000 people in 50,000 households.

  • Respondents are over the age of 12.

  • Respondents queried every six months about household and personal victimizations.

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Self-Reported Crime Data

  • Asks respondents to tell about their criminal activities.

  • Measures the “dark figure of crime.”

  • Reveals that crime is a very common activity.

  • Demonstrates youth crime is spread throughout the social classes.

  • Is probably a reliable measure of trends over a period of time.

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Compatibility of Crime Statistic Sources

  • Prominent crime experts have concluded that the data sources are more compatible than was first believed.

  • Tallies of crimes are not in synch, but trends reported are often quite similar.

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Explaining Crime Trends

  • Factors that influence crime rate trends include:

    • Social factors

    • Economic factors

    • Personal factors

    • Demographic factors

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The Ecology of Crime

  • Crime is not equally spread across society.

  • Some factors that account for different crime patterns are:

    • Day, season and climate

    • Population density

    • Firearms and crime

    • The Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland is the principle international source of public information on all aspects of small arms.

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The Ecology of Victimization

  • Most victimization occurs in large urban areas.

  • Most incidents occur in the evening hours.

  • The most likely sites are open public areas.

  • An overwhelming number involve only one victim.

  • Most serious crimes take place after 6 p.m.

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Social Class and Crime

  • A still-unresolved issue in criminology is the relationship between social class and crime.

    • Traditional crime has been thought of as a lower-class phenomenon (instrumental and expressive crime).

  • Methodologies used to measure the phenomenon vary widely.

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Gender and Crime

  • Three data-gathering statistics tools support the theory that male crime rates are much higher than those of females.

    • Explanations include:

      • Masculinity hypothesis

      • Chivalry hypothesis

      • Socialization

      • Development

      • Liberal feminist theory

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Race and Crime

  • Official crime data indicate that minority groups’ members are involved in a disproportionate share of criminal activity.

  • Critics of these data argue police bias in the arrest process creates the differences.

  • Some critics believe institutional racism creates economic deprivation which leads to more crime.

  • Other researchers focus on family dissolution as an explanatory factor.

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Careers and Crime

  • Most offenders commit a single criminal act and upon arrest discontinue their antisocial activity.

  • Some commit a few less serious crimes.

  • Career criminals or chronic offenders account for a majority of all criminal offenses.