CRCJ 1000 Feb5th Lec 4.docx

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Criminology and Criminal Justice
CRCJ 1000
Nicolas Carrier

CRCJ 1000 Feb 5 2013 Lec 4 Counting Crime Victimization Surveys - Most accurate to establish trends in crime over time - Superior than police stats - Tools to estimate the dark figure of crime: estimate the amount of crime that could exist in society but could escape the official crime rate. - Developed in the 1970s - ICVS: International – established in 1989 – with the ambition to establish a comparison in between countries. - There’s a general decline of victimization since the 1990s, interesting because crime rates in different nations do not show the same pattern. ICVS managed to establish a very low reliability of crime rates - Limited set of offences being surveyed - Assumed that crime is under reported with these surveys, only surveys people who have a household and have a phone – example: homeless people in the street will not be surveyed and are more likely to be victimized. - Telescoping: placing the occurrence of the incident within the timeline of when it is being surveyed when it happened before hand. - All sorts of factors that limit the validity General Social Survey - Limited set of offences being surveyed - 8 types of crime: 3 forms of violent (sexual assault, physical assault, robbery) and 5 non- violent (break & entering, theft of household property, vandalism, theft of personal property, theft of a motor vehicle) - Roughly 1 in 4 Canadians are victimized each year, mainly in a non-violent manner - Most cases its simple assault - Most cases 75% of people will only be violently victimized once - Stats on sexual assault: 1 in 2 people end up knowing each other = friend, neighbour is the perpetrator. - Clear relationship between age and violent victimization The Construction of Official Statistics - Courts process: not everyone is recognized guilty - How do police decide to participate in the construction of reality of crime? Attrition process - Most of the research has probably focused on police discretion - When looking at the decision to report the crime to the police: the citizen wants the punishment for the perpetrator or wants the help of the police Reporting Rates - Why not report the potential crime? 1. The proximity for the offender, knowing the criminal might be a reason to not report crime. 2. Level of harm is too low; stealing the bike lock but not the bike 3. Impression that the police will be unable to do anything about it. Maybe the police won’t believe them…etc 4. The desire not to have the police involved 5. Being embarrassed or ashamed 6. Publicity – wanted to avoid that Police Discretion - Policies will have a impact on stats - Where do you send the officers in cars, bikes, walking – will affect the crime rate - Institutional: political needs - Operational Discretion: the ways in which police officers think of their work: what does it mean to be a police officer, for some it’s to get the criminals and put them in jail, others is for helping people and be less pro-active. - Study: Skolnick: Justice Without Trial: showing that cops are deciding on the spot who is deserving the punishment - Plenty of factors relating to the suspect that will have an impact on police discretion: gender, perceived social economic class, are they known to the police? Is there material that will make the work of the police easier? - Systemic Factors: changes in social attitudes, use criminal law in bigger cities where not everyone knows each other, small cities; criminal law is used less, views of the police officers as to what wi
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