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Chapter 2 PowerPoint Presentation

Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

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  1. Chapter 2 The Nature and Extent of Crime

  2. How Criminologists Study Crime • Survey Research • Self-report surveys and interviews • Victimization surveys • Sampling (selection process) • Population (sharing of similar characteristics) • Cross-sectional research (representative of all society)

  3. How Criminologists Study Crime • Cohort Research: Longitudinal and retrospective • Cohort involves observing a group of people who share similar characteristics • Following cohorts is expensive and time consuming • Examination of school, police, and courts records

  4. How Criminologists Study Crime • Official Record Research • Criminologists use the records of government agencies to study crime • The Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data is collected by local law enforcement agencies and published yearly by the FBI • Census Bureau data used for information about income

  5. How Criminologists Study Crime • Weblink:

  6. How Criminologists Study Crime • Experimental Research • Manipulation and intervention techniques • Three elements: (1) random selection, (2) control group, and (3) experimental condition • Criminological experiments are rare due to expense and ethical concerns

  7. How Criminologists Study Crime • Observational and Interview Research • Commonly focuses on a few subjects for study • In-depth interviews to gain insight into a behavior • Field participation (Whyte’s Street Corner Society)

  8. How Criminologists Study Crime • Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review • Meta-analysis involves gathering data from previous studies • Grouped data provides powerful indication of relationships between variables • Systematic review involves collecting and synthesizing evidence to address a particular scientific question (street lighting and crime)

  9. Measuring Crime Trends and Rates • Official Data: The Uniform Crime Report (UCR) • More than 17,000 police agencies contribute records • Index Crimes (Part I) • Murder • Non-negligent manslaughter • Forcible rape • Robbery • Aggravated assault • Burglary • Larceny • Arson • Motor vehicle theft • Non-Index Crime (Part II) • All other crimes • Does not include traffic offenses

  10. CNN Clip - Sims City or Sin City

  11. Measuring Crime Trends and Rates • Compiling the Uniform Crime Report • Each month law enforcement agencies report index crimes • Unfounded or false reports are to be eliminated from the actual count • Each month law enforcement agencies report the number of crimes cleared (by arrest or exceptional means) • Slightly more than 20 percent of all reported index crimes are cleared by arrest each year • Victim crimes are more likely to be solved than property

  12. Figure 2.1 Index Crimes Cleared by Arrest, 2003

  13. Measuring Crime Trends and Rates • Uniform Crime Reports Validity • Reporting practices: • Some victims do not report serious crimes • Some victims do not trust police • Some thinks it is useless to report crime • Victims may fear reprisals • Less than 40 percent of all crime is reported to police

  14. Measuring Crime Trends and Rates • Law enforcement practices: • Departments may loosely define crimes (trespass and burglary) • Arrests may only be counted after formal booking • Deliberate alterations due to image concerns • Better record keeping processes can artificially inflate crime rates

  15. Measuring Crime Trends and Rates • Methodological Issues: • No federal crimes are reported • Reports are voluntary • Not all departments submit reports • The FBI uses estimates in its total projections • Multiple crime offenders are frequently counted as one crime • Each act is listed as a single offense (robbing of six people in one incident) • Incomplete acts are lumped together will completed ones • Differences in definitions of crime between FBI and states

  16. Measuring Crime Trends and Rates • National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) • Result of a five-year redesign effort • Collects data on each reported incident • Expands the categories of UCR to 46 specific offenses • Currently, 22 states have implemented NIBRS

  17. Measuring Crime Trends and Rates • Victim Surveys: National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) • Attempts to measure crime unreported to police by surveying victims • Utilizes at large nationally representative sample • People are asked to report their victimization experiences • In 2002, the NCVS estimates about 247,000 rapes or attempted rapes occurred compared to about 90,000 per UCR estimates

  18. Measuring Crime Trends and Rates • Validity of the NCVS • Overreporting due to victim’s misinterpretations • Underreporting due to embarrassment • Inability to record the criminal activity of those interviewed • Sampling errors • Inadequate question formats

  19. Measuring Crime Trends and Rates • Self Report Surveys • Attempts to measure the “dark figures” of crime • Most focus on youth crime due to school setting • Self-reports suggest the number of people who break the law is greater than projected by official statistics • Self-reports dispute the notion that people specialize in one type of crime • Most common offenses are truancy, alcohol abuse, shoplifting, larceny under $50, fighting, marijuana use, and property damage

  20. Measuring Crime Trends and Rates • Validity of Self-Reports • People may exaggerate or forget their criminal acts • Some surveys may contain an overabundance of trivial offenses • Missing cases is also a concern when students refuse to participate in the survey • Institutionalized youth are generally not included in self-report surveys • Reporting differences may exist between racial, ethnic, and gender groups

  21. Figure 2.2 Self-Report Survey Questions

  22. Measuring Crime Trends and Rates • Evaluating Crime Data Sources • Each source has its strengths and weaknesses • The FBI survey contains number and characteristics of people arrested • The NCVS includes unreported crimes and personal characteristics of victims • Self-report surveys provide information about offenders • The crime patterns of each are often quite similar in their tallies of crime

  23. Crime Trends • Overall crime rates have been declining since 1991 • In 2003 about 11.8 million crimes were reported to police • Teenage criminality has also been in decline during this period

  24. Figure 2.3 Crime Trends

  25. Crime Trends • Trends in Violent Crime • Violent crime rates have decreased about 11 percent between 1997 and 2002 • Preliminary data indicates another 3 percent decline between 2002 and 2003 • Homicide rates peaked around 1930, then held steady at about 5 per 100,000 population from 1950 through the mid-1960s, then rose to 10.2 per 100,000 population in 1991 • Between 1991 and 2000 homicide rates dropped to about 5.5 per 100,000 population • New York reported a decline of more than 50 percent in their murder rates

  26. Figure 2.4 Homocide Rate Trends, 1900-2003

  27. Crime Trends • Trends in Property Crime • In 2002, about 10.4 million property crimes were reported at a rate of 3,650 per 100,000 population • Property crime rates have decreased, though not as dramatic as violent crime rates • Between 1992 and 2002 the property crime rate declined about 26 percent

  28. Crime Trends • Trends in Victimization Data (NCVS Findings) • According to the NCVS, in 2002 about 23 million U.S. residents experienced violent and property victimizations • The downward trend represents the lowest number of criminal victimizations since 1973 • Between 1993 and 2002 the violent crime rate has decreased 54 percent and the property crime rate decreased 50 percent

  29. Crime Trends • Self-Report Findings • The use drugs and alcohol increased markedly in the 1970s, leveled off in the 1980s, began to increase in the mid-1990s and began to decline after 1997 • Self report surveys suggest the crime problem with teenagers could be greater than the FBI data reveals • Crimes of theft and violence may be more stable than the trends reported in the UCR arrest data

  30. Figure 2.5 Violent Crime Trends, 1973-2006

  31. Figure 2.6 Property Crime Trends, 1973-2006

  32. Crime Trends • What the Future Holds • James A. Fox predicts a significant increase in teen violence due to the age makeup of the population • Steven Levitt argues that keeping large numbers of people in prison and adding more police will reduce crime rates • Darrell Steffensmeier and Miles Harper suggest a more moderate increase in crime due to “baby boomers”

  33. Crime Patterns • The Ecology of Crime • Day, season, and climate: • Most crime occurs during warm months since people spend more time outdoors and teenagers are out of school • Murder and robbery tend to occur more during December and January • Crime rates are higher on the first day of the month due to arrival of subsidy and retirement checks • Temperature: • Rising temperatures increase crime rates to a point (about 85 degrees) • Regional differences: • Large urban areas experience more violence than rural areas • The West and South consistently have higher crime rates than the Midwest or Northeast

  34. Figure 2.7 The Relationship Between Temperature and Crime

  35. Figure 2.8 Regional Crime Rates, 2002

  36. Crime Patterns • Use of Firearms • Involved in about 20 percent of robberies. 10 percent of assaults, and 5 percent of rapes, according to the NCVS • In 2002, UCRs report about two-thirds of all murder involved firearms • Franklin Zimring and Gordon Hawkins contend the use of handguns is the single most factor that separates the crime problem from the rest of the developed world • By contrast, Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz suggest handguns may be a deterrent to crime

  37. Crime Patterns • Social Class and Crime • Crime is thought to be a lower-class phenomenon • Instrumental crimes refer to those designed to improve the financial or social position of the criminal • Expressive crimes refer to criminal acts committed due to anger, frustration, or rage • Victimization rates are higher for those in inner-city, high-poverty areas than those in suburban and wealthier areas

  38. Crime Patterns • Class and Self-Reports • Early self-report studies did not find a direct relationship between social class and crime • Official processing was determined by socioeconomic class • Some criminologists challenge the contention that crime in primarily a lower-class phenomenon

  39. Crime Patterns • The Crime-Class Controversy • The associate between class and crime is complex • Class may affect some groups more than others (women and African Americans) • The true crime-class relationship may be obscured because its impact varies within and between groups

  40. Crime Patterns • Does Class Matter? • Recent evidence suggest crime is more prevalent among the lower classes • Income inequality, poverty, and resource deprivation are all associated with the most serious violent crimes • Deprived residents may turn to criminal behavior to relieve their frustrations

  41. Crime Patterns • Age and Crime • Age is inversely related to crime • Younger people commit more crime than older people • Youth ages 13 to 17 account for about 25 percent of all index crime arrests and about 17 percent of arrests for all crimes • Generally, 16 is the peak age for property crimes and 18 is the peak age for violent crimes

  42. Figure 2.9 Relationships Between Age and Serious Crime Arrests

  43. Crime Patterns • Aging Out of Crime • People commit less crime as they age • Peak in adolescent criminal activity can be linked to: • Reduction in supervision • An increase in social and academic demands • Participation in a larger, more diverse social world • An increased desire for adult privileges • A reduced ability of cope in a legitimate manner and increased incentives to solve problems in a criminal manner • Younger people tend to discount the future • Marriage may be a desisting factor in criminality

  44. Crime Patterns • Gender and Crime • Males commit more crime than females • Overall, 3.5 males to 1 female • For serious offenses; 5 males to 1 female • For murder; 8 males to 1 female

  45. Table 2.2 High School Seniors Admitting to at Least One Offense

  46. Crime Patterns • Traits and Temperament • Lombroso explained gender differences through the masculinity hypothesis suggesting a few females commit the majority of crimes by women • Chivalry hypothesis suggests the culture is protective of women and masks the true criminality of women • Some criminologists have linked differences in crime rates to hormonal changes between men and women

  47. Crime Patterns • Socialization and Development • Some suggest females are socialized into criminality through alienation at home • Females are more closely guarded than boys • Some contend girls have cognitive traits that shield them from criminal behaviors

  48. Crime Patterns • Feminist View • Feminist argue that women experience lower crime rates reflected in a “second class” position controlled largely by males • Some suggested crime rates of males and females would converge • Is convergence likely? • Some argue the emancipation of women has little effect on female crime rates • Many females come from a socioeconomic class least affected by the women’s movement • Offense patterns of women are still quite different than those of men

  49. Crime Patterns • Race and Crime • Minority group members are involved in a disproportionate amount of crime • African Americans account for about 38 percent of violent crime arrests and 30 percent of property crime arrests, while making up about 12 percent of the population • Self-reports contend minorities are more likely to be arrested and not necessarily more prone to crime than Whites

  50. Crime Patterns • Racism and Discrimination • Criminologists suggest Black crime is a function of socialization • Institutional racism results in African American males being treated more harshly by the criminal justice system (social dynamite) • African Americans experience higher unemployment rates and lower incomes than Whites • Blacks are exposed to more violence than Whites • Family dissolution his higher among African Americans than Whites