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Criminology (2,102)
CRIM 101 (449)


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Simon Fraser University
CRIM 101
Barry Cartwright

091708CHAPTER 3 NOTES RESEARCHING CRIMINAL EVENTSSEVERAL APPROACHESdirect observation in natural settingsexperimental observationspolice reportsvictimization surveysselfreport surveys THE UCR AND THE GSSOfficial crime rates usually based on the Uniform Crime Report UCRCriminologists also look at theGeneral Social Survey GSS DIRECT OBSERVATIONNot necessarily the most efficient manner to research crimeCriminal events occur with relative infrequencyCriminals spend a lot of their time doing same things as noncriminalsTHE SECRET LIVES OF CRIMINALSCriminal behavior tends to be secretive in natureCriminals go out of their way to avoid observation or detectionSOME OTHER DILEMMASIf researchers succeed in observing criminal behavior do they quietly record their observations or do they report behavior to the policeResearchers may end up being victims themselves if they hang out in high crime areasWhat happens if theyre seen by the offenders to be observing their criminal behaviorEXPERIMENTING ON HUMANSIssues of informed consent if you tell the subjects what youre going to do they may refuse or alter their behaviorIf you encourage subjects to break the law you may be breaking the law yourself SOME PROBLEMS WITH THE UCRMany incidents of crime go undetected or unreported and consequently do not make it into the UCRSome incidents that are reported may not show up in the UCR because police conclude they are unfoundedNot all police departments or provinces territories participateWith exception of provincial police in Quebec and Ontario most reports come from urban police departmentsEstimated that only 60 of all crime known to police find its way into the UCRTHE DARK FIGURE OF RECORDING ACT IIWide variations in reporting practices across the countryProfessionalism and degree of organization of particular police department may be a factor
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