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CRIM 101 (459)
Lecture 3

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Department
Criminology
Course
CRIM 101
Professor
Barry Cartwright
Semester
Winter

Description
RESEARCHING CRIMINAL EVENTS  Why dunnit and why? (And who cares, anyway?) *SEVERAL APPROACHES  Direct observation in natural settings ( ethnographic research)  Experimental observations  Police reports  Victimization surveys  Self-report surveys *DIRECT OBSERVATION  Not necessarily the most efficient manner to research crime  Also referred to as ethnographic research  Criminal events occur with relative infrequency  Criminals spend a lot of their time doing same things as non-criminals *THE SECRET LIVES OF CRIMINALS  Criminal behaviour tends to be secretive in nature  Criminals go out of their way to avoid observation or detection  If done successfully, ethnographic researchers may learn in depth info about criminal sub-cultures that are not usually amenable to investigation *EXPERIMENTING ON HUMANS  Issues of “informed consent” (if you tell the subjects what you’re going to do, they may refuse, or alter their behavior)  If you encourage subjects to break the law, you may be breaking the law yourself. *EXPERIMENTS IN ELECTRICITY  The milgram experiment *THE UCR AND THE GSS  Official crime rates usually based in the uniform crime report (UCR)  Criminologists also look at the general social survey (GSS) *SOME PROBLEMS WITH THE UCR  Many incidents of crime go undetected, or unreported, and consequently do not make it into the UCR  Some incidents that are reported may not show up in the UCR because police conclude they are unfounded. *THE DARK FIGURE OF RECORDING, ACT II, Scene 33  Wide variations in reporting practices across the country  Professionalism and degree of organization of particular police department may be a factor OTHER COMPLICATING FACTORS  The crime funnel  The central city phenomenon  Canada’s policy on collection of race-crime information THE CRIME FUNNEL  Describes attrition rate as reported crimes make their way through the criminal justice system  For most crimes known to the police, nobody gets arrested  Arrest usually does not lead to a trial or a guilty plea. 1. Actual level of crime 2. Detected crime 3. Reported crime 4. Arrests 5. Convictions 6. Non-custodial 7. Custodial www.barryzon.com THE CENTRAL CITY PHENOMENON  Crime rates reported in city centers may not accurately reflect the number of criminally- minded people who actually live there  Census Metropolitan Areas or CMAs often have a number of suburbs that are contiguous to-or connected with-the city itself  People from suburbs travel to city centre in search of excitement, entertainment, or the opportunity to commit crimes *FEDERAL INCARCERATION RATES PER 100,000  Aboriginals 185  Blacks 146  Whites 42  Asians 16 *ETHNICITY AND CRIME  Canada does not collect statistics on the relationships (if any) between race and crime  To the extent that we have reliable information, it is usually collected by correctional institutions, rather than by the police or the courts *THE GREAT DEBATE NO! (Julian Roberts):  Difficult to classify people in a multi-racial society  Police officers (the ones most likely to be making decisions about the race of a suspect) have no training or expertise in these matters  Information might result in discrimination against ethnic groups that appear to be over- represented in the statistics YES! (Thomas Gabor)  Why should academics, criminal justice personnel and political leaders determine what the public can and cannot know?  We live in a free society, where censorship is unacceptable  If some ethnic minorities are more involved in crime, shouldn’t the public have a right to know? *THE GLADUE DECISION  1999 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, referred to as R. v. Gladue  Section 718.2 of Criminal Code makes it mandatory for sentencing judges to take into consideration unique circumstances of aboriginal offenders  Supreme Court confirmed this “is remedial in nature and is designed to ameliorate the serious problem of overrepresentation of aboriginal peoples in prisons”.  Decision encourages judges to take “a restorative approach” when sentencing aboriginals.  Court acknowledges that “the jail term for an Aboriginal offender may in some circumstances be less than the term imposed in a non-aboriginal offender for the same offence”. *THE GENERAL SOCIAL SURVEY  Victimization survey that interviews people by telephone (random digit dialing)  In 2009, sampled 19,500 individuals over the age of 15, in households across canada  Respondents asked about their victimization experiences, and their perceptions of crime and the crimi
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