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Uniform Crime Report (UCR). FBI Compiles data from the nation’s law enforcement agencies on crime for: Numbers of arrests Reports of crimes This is the least desirable of crime indicators, but still too often criminologists rely on it.

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uniform crime report ucr
Uniform Crime Report (UCR)

FBI Compiles data from the nation’s law enforcement agencies on crime for:

  • Numbers of arrests
  • Reports of crimes

This is the least desirable of crime indicators, but still too often criminologists rely on it.

It is also the most widely used publicly by politicians, media, and police.

uniform crime report ucr2
Uniform Crime Report (UCR)

FBI Compiles data from the nation’s law enforcement agencies on crime for:

  • Numbers of arrests
  • Reports of crimes

This is the least desirable of crime indicators, but still too often criminologists rely on it.

It is also the most widely used publicly by politicians, media, and police.

UCR reports more variation in crime over time than the other 2 indicators. This variation leads many to believe that crime increases more than it actually did in some years.

Over the last ten years, this measure indicates that crime is falling.

uniform crime report ucr3
Strengths:

Reports Homicides

Can easily be disaggregated by demographic characteristics

Weaknesses:

Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
uniform crime report ucr4
Strengths:

Reports Homicides

Can easily be disaggregated by demographic characteristics

Shows long term, overall trends in crime

Shows official (police) activity

Weaknesses:

Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
uniform crime report ucr5
Strengths:

Reports Homicides

Can easily be disaggregated by demographic characteristics

Shows long term, overall trends in crime

Shows official (police) activity

Weaknesses:

Not all police units participate

Police can “cook” the numbers

Underreports all crime:

Non-reporting

Non-charging

Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
uniform crime report ucr6
Strengths:

Reports Homicides

Can easily be disaggregated by demographic characteristics

Shows long term, overall trends in crime

Shows official (police) activity

Weaknesses:

Not all police units participate

Police can “cook” the numbers

Underreports all crime:

Non-reporting

Non-charging

Arrest numbers are not accurate at the individual level:

Cannot know the number of people committing crime

Some are never caught

Some are arrested on multiple occasions or commit multiple crimes

Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
uniform crime report ucr7
Strengths:

Reports Homicides

Can easily be disaggregated by demographic characteristics

Shows long term, overall trends in crime

Shows official (police) activity

Weaknesses (continued):

Social emphases on particular crimes can look like increases or declines (trends can be falsely manufactured or masked)

Increases or declines in police activity (e.g., number of officers, funding) can influence numbers

Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
national crime victimization survey ncvs
National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

Annual victimization survey conducted by the US Census Bureau for the Bureau of Justice Statistics

Conducted since 1973

Nationally representative sample of roughly 50,000 US households

national crime victimization survey ncvs9
National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

Annual victimization survey conducted by the US Census Bureau for the Bureau of Justice Statistics

Conducted since 1973

Nationally representative sample of persons 12 and over in roughly 50,000 US households

Survey items include victimization questions about:

Rape Vehicle theft

Sexual assault Battery

Robbery Burglary

national crime victimization survey ncvs10
National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

Survey items include victimization questions about:

Rape Vehicle theft

Sexual assault Battery

Robbery Burglary

NCVS is the best of the crime indicators, giving the most true image of US crime

NCVS typically depicts rates of crime as stable. Lack of movement makes it un-sensational and not popular.

Used to show that crime has not been going up. Over the last ten years, this measure indicates that crime has been falling.

national crime victimization survey ncvs11
Strengths:

More accurate portrayal of criminal activity than official data

Not influenced by official activity

Shows crime trends since 1973

Weaknesses:

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
national crime victimization survey ncvs12
Strengths:

More accurate portrayal of criminal activity than official data

Not influenced by official activity

Shows crime trends since 1973

Weaknesses:

Does not provide “arrest” information (official activity)

Cannot tell us about individual criminals

Cannot know the number of people committing crimes

Many crimes are by repeat offenders

Relies on memory and judgment (demographic characteristics of offender may be inaccurate)

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
self report studies
Self-Report Studies
  • Social scientists give questionnaires to subjects asking them to reveal their own participation in delinquent behavior.
  • Often conducted in schools
  • ISR’s Monitoring the Future is one of the most frequently cited (especially for drug use among kids)
  • These studies demonstrate that delinquency is much more common than official data suggest (almost universal)
  • They also indicate that levels of delinquency over time remain fairly stable
self report studies14
Strengths:

Gives individual-level data about the attitudes, behaviors, and extent of involvement of individual delinquents

Allows exploration of the processes involved in creating delinquency

Some allow estimates of rates of participation in delinquency

Weaknesses:

Self-Report Studies
self report studies15
Strengths:

Gives individual-level data about the attitudes, behaviors, and extent of involvement of individual delinquents

Allows exploration of the processes involved in creating delinquency

Some allow estimates of rates of participation in delinquency

Provides data on private or non-identified delinquency

Comparative research shows correspondence between self-report studies and other studies

Weaknesses:

Self-Report Studies
self report studies16
Strengths:

Gives individual-level data about the attitudes, behaviors, and extent of involvement of individual delinquents

Allows exploration of the processes involved in creating delinquency

Some allow estimates of rates of participation in delinquency

Provides data on private or non-identified delinquency

Comparative research shows correspondence between self-report studies and other studies

Weaknesses:

You gotta wonder whether people will be honest on surveys about illegal behaviors

Exaggerated reporting

Recall about specific behaviors is difficult

Often, surveys are not representative (e.g., they may exclude most hardened delinquents who have dropped out)

Drug use may be most underreported behavior

Self-Report Studies
crime in the us
Crime in the US
  • At what time of day are kids most likely to commit a crime?
  • Are curfew laws intelligent?
crime in the us45
Crime in the US

Lifetime likelihood of going to State or Federal prison

  • In 2001, an estimated 2.7% of adults in the U.S. had served time in prison, up from 1.8% in 1991 and 1.3% in 1974.
  • If recent incarceration rates remain unchanged, an estimated 1 of every 15 persons (6.6%) will serve time in a prison during their lifetime.
  • Lifetime chances of a person going to prison are higher for
    • -- men (11.3%) than for women (1.8%)
    • -- blacks (18.6%) and Hispanics (10%) than for whites (3.4%)
  • Based on current rates of first incarceration, an estimated 32% of black males will enter State or Federal prison during their lifetime, compared to 17% of Hispanic males and 5.9% of white males.

Source: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/crimoff.htm#lifetime

crime in the us46
Crime in the US

Recidivism—not what you think!

  • Of the 272,111 persons released from prisons in 15 States in 1994, an estimated 67.5% were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years, 46.9% were reconvicted, and 25.4% resentenced to prison for a new crime.
  • The 272,111 offenders discharged in 1994 accounted for nearly 4,877,000 arrest charges over their recorded careers.
  • Within 3 years of release, 2.5% of released rapists were rearrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for a new homicide.

Source: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/crimoff.htm#lifetime

crime in the us47
Crime in the US

Recidivism—not what you think!

  • Within 3 years of release, 2.5% of released rapists were rearrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for a new homicide.
  • Sex offenders were less likely than non-sex offenders to be rearrested for any offense –– 43 percent of sex offenders versus 68 percent of non-sex offenders.
  • Sex offenders were about four times more likely than non-sex offenders to be arrested for another sex crime after their discharge from prison –– 5.3 percent of sex offenders versus 1.3 percent of non-sex offenders.
  • Approximately 4,300 child molesters were released from prisons in 15 States in 1994. An estimated 3.3% of these 4,300 were rearrested for another sex crime against a child within 3 years of release from prison.

Source: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/crimoff.htm#lifetime