Class 1 – introduction notes
• How much crime is violent? Violent crime in Canada is actually much lower compared
to other types of crimes that occur in Canada, such as Property offences and thefts.
According to the uniform crime reporting survey done by the Canadian centre for Justice
Statistics division of Statistics Canada, violent crime in Canada has stayed relatively
constant at 1,000 cases per 100,000 population, while property offences began at just
under 6,000 per 100,000 population in 1999. This number has steadily declined since
but as of 2011 is still much higher than violent offences at approximately 4,000 per
How much crime is there really?
• It depends largely on.....
– Measurement strategy
Definitions: What makes something a crime?
• Definitions include:
– Legal, moral, social, and psychological aspects
– What the state imposes (criminal code)
– morally wrong, socially wrong, but not necessarily illegal by legal definitions. E.g.
bullying, cheating, lying, butting someone in line.
– Psychological aspect has to do with victim aspect and perpetrator perspective
– Crime varies with time, culture, country
– Definition of crime is fluid
• Justin trudeau marijuana
• Are there crimes that are universally accepted?
– Some are, murder, incest, robbery, etc.
OUR WORKING DEFINITION OF CRIME IS
• Criminal behaviour refers to intentional behaviour that violates a criminal code;
intentional in that it does not occur accidentally or without justification of excuse (Bartol &
• Must have in description that crime will influence prevalence
• Must concede that there are intercultural variations regarding normative and
acceptable behaviour and that acceptable norms can change over time within a
culture (e.g. abortion laws in canada)
Determinants of crime – distal (historical) and proximal (immediate/situational)
Effect sized and Meta-analysis – a collection of reviews on a particular topic. Less biased
because tjey provide a quantitative estimate of the importance of the results (it merges all
results of individual studies into one averaged effect size) rather than a narrative interpretation
- Effect sizes give you the MAGNITUDE of the difference and they can also be tested for
significance so its better than t-tests or f-tests which only tell you the significance.
- LIMITATIONS aggregating data only from published studies is problematic if there is
publication bias (studies with significant effects more likely to be published). Seeking out
unpublished research can help provide more accurate answer to your research question o Conclusions of the meta analysis are only as strong as the quality of the studies
that were aggregated
Static and dynamic risk factors
Static- doesn’t change (family history, etc)
Dynamic – can change over time (antisocial cognition, substance abuse)
Criminogenic = empirically related to criminal conduct and when reduced
Measurement: How do people take stock of crime?
• In the next 30 seconds, write down the most recent crime that comes to mind
• Sexual assault
– Where did you hear about it?
– Why did you remember this particular crime?
• Happened near my neighborhood
– The media? YES
- An analysis of sensational cases does not give us an accurate picture about the most
prevalent types of crime, nor the motivations underlying “ordinary” criminal behaviour.
- Media tends to sensationalize the stories – mass media is a FOR PROFIT business.
Leads to an understanding of crime that is informed only by sensationalized cases or