Counting Crime Methods for Counting Crime? Current Crime Numbers/Trends Explaining the Crime Drop
Methods of Measuring Crime Uniform Crime Reports Self- Report Surveys Victim Surveys
Based on Crimes Reported to the Police Based on a population unit of 100,000 people Divided into two representative categories: Indexed and non-Indexed Reported for U.S., Cities, and SMSA’s Crimes known / Arrest = Clearance Rate Uniform Crime Reports
Part I “Index” Crimes Criminal Homicide Forcible Rape Robbery Aggravated assault Burglary Larceny/theft Motor vehicle theft Arson Part II Crimes All others except traffic Violent Crime Non-violent Crime Uniform Crime Reports
Cannot capture the “dark figure” of crime Methodological Hiccups Criticisms and Limitations of the UCR • Counting Rule • Reporting Practices • Attempted vs. Completed Crimes
The Future of the Uniform Crime Reports • National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) • Maintained by the F.B.I. • Twenty-two crime categories • More information on each crime in each category • Data compiled based on incidents, not arrests.
Self-Report Surveys • Participants (usually juveniles) reveal information about their violations of the law Advantages • Get at “Dark Figure of Crime” • “Victimless Crimes” • Compare to “official data” • Measure theoretical concepts and connect with criminal behavior
Self-Report Surveys • Disadvantages • May underestimate “chronic offenders” • People Can Lie • Survey Methodology Problems • Seriousness of Offense
National Crime Victimization Survey 1. Asks victims about their encounters with criminals 2. Nationally representative sample 3. May also describe people most at risk 4. Limitations: Little information about offenders Cannot assess some crimes Limitations of Survey Research
REVIEW • UCR • Aggregate Data (see trends), Crimes known to police • Self-report • Individual level data, links offender characteristics to criminal offending • NCVS • Aggregate Data (see trends), victimizations
Crime Trends and Correlates of Crime • Crime Trends • Is crime increasing, decreasing or stable? • Why? • Correlates of Crime • What factors are related to crime? • Geographic location, Age, Race, Gender, Social Class?
Crime Trends • UCR and NCVS data reveal a steady decrease in violent crimesince the mid 1990s • The decrease is being driven by a sharp decline in violent crime among juveniles. • NCVS indicates a long term trend of decreasing property crime • Some difference with UCR data
The usual suspects Age Composition The Economy Social malaise Guns—Availability Justice Policy—Police or Prisons Reality? Difficult to predict trends Explaining Crime Trends
The Crime Drop (1990s-present) • Again, think young males in inner city areas • Decline of the “Crack Cocaine” wars • The “blunt” era • Change in inner city culture • Mass incarceration • Freakonomics: Was it Abortion?
Correlates of Crime • Demographics • Age • Sex • Race
GENDER AND CRIME • UCR, NCVS, and SR data all indicate that females are more likely than males to commit criminal acts • Socialization? • Biological differences? • Feminist explanations
RACE AND CRIME • SR weak if any relationship • Official data strong relationship • Is relationship due to bias? • How police patrol and interact with minorities • Disparity in how CJS processes minorities? • NCVS data confirms some “true” race-crime relationship. Why does race predict crime? • Relationship to class, neighborhood, culture
Age and Crime • Crime is “young” persons game • HOWEVER • There is a group of “chronic” offenders that persist in crime after adulthood • The “Chronic” 6%
Continuity of Crime Cohort studies clearly show that most chronic juvenile offenders continue their law-violating careers as adults. Then and ………….. NOW
Crime Victimization • Criminals and victims tend to look the same demographically • Most crime is intraracial • Victimization for most crimes most likely among • Young • Male • Urban
What is counted counts • We have no “UCR” mechanism to gauge white collar crime • How to assess insider trading, environmental crimes, corporate crime? • Most large corporate crime prosecutions in in a settlement