CRIM 101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Uniform Crime Reports, Air Canada, Observational Error

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Published on 21 Apr 2013
School
Simon Fraser University
Department
Criminology
Course
CRIM 101
Crim 101, tutorial week 3
Human error
NASA spacecraft to mars disappeared into thin air
Rocket manufacturer specified thrust in pounds, NASA specified thrust in metric newtons
Only in America, you say?
1983- air Canada flight from Montreal Edmonton
Calculated fuel load in metric rather than imperial, and by weight rather than volume
Gave it exactly half as much gas as it needed to get to its destination
*Confused about crime rates?
FBI report apparently implied that crime rate was no longer declining
Media did not understand/report that FBI report was preliminary and did not include
official figures
Victimization report that came out 2 weeks later said that crime had declined 15% in the
same time period
*Reading between the lines
Canadian uniform crime report indicates that crime has been decreasing almost annually
since the early 1990s
Canadian GSS indicates that victimization rates stayed the same between 2004-2009, was
14% higher in 2004 that 1999, and 28% higher in 2004 that 1993
Reliability and validity
2099 GSS random digit dialing dialed 19,500 households across Canada
2010 UCR reported 2.1 million criminal code infractions
Lager numbers DO NOT make results more reliable or valid
If data obtained through random selection, then greater numbers may reduce random
error
Systematic error
Consistently make some sampling elements more likely to be chosen
E.g., using list of homeowners, which systematically excludes people who aren’t at home
(homeless, prisoners, hospital patients)
E.g., using crimes known to police, usually committed by criminals known to police,
because they sometimes get caught by police
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Document Summary

Nasa spacecraft to mars disappeared into thin air. Rocket manufacturer specified thrust in pounds, nasa specified thrust in metric newtons. 1983- air canada flight from montreal edmonton. Calculated fuel load in metric rather than imperial, and by weight rather than volume. Gave it exactly half as much gas as it needed to get to its destination. Fbi report apparently implied that crime rate was no longer declining. Media did not understand/report that fbi report was preliminary and did not include official figures. Victimization report that came out 2 weeks later said that crime had declined 15% in the same time period. Canadian uniform crime report indicates that crime has been decreasing almost annually since the early 1990s. Canadian gss indicates that victimization rates stayed the same between 2004-2009, was. 2099 gss random digit dialing dialed 19,500 households across canada. 2010 ucr reported 2. 1 million criminal code infractions. Lager numbers do not make results more reliable or valid.

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