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Lecture 7

CRM 1300 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Breathalyzer, Shoplifting, Motor Vehicle Theft

Course Code
CRM 1300
Carolyn Gordon

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CRM 1300B
Chapter 4
The Crime Picture
Stats Canada
Province with the highest violent crime rate – Saskatchewan
Province with the lowest violent crime rate – Quebec
Province with the highest property crime rate – British Columbia
Province with the lowest property crime rate – Newfoundland
The most commonly occurring violent crime – assault level 1
The crime that has been increasing in the past 3 decades – forcible confinement
The most commonly occurring property crime – Theft under $5000
The property crime that is declining the most – motor vehicle theft
Those who commit property crime are more likely to receive more prison sentences than those
convicted for ‘crimes against persons’ because they are more likely to reoffend
Violent crimes are more likely to be solved than property crimes because you are more likely to
know your offender
There was a slight increase in “other” Criminal Code offences in 2010 compared to 2009.
Largest “other” increase – child pornography
Largest “other” decrease - prostitution
Something to Think About
Rate of crime is decreasing in society, but the rate of fear is increasing
The GSS (General Social Survey) 2009 asked about 3 activities that pertain to security
generally, not to a specific crime, to gage the public’s perception on how safe they feel generally
– (1) being home alone, (2) taking public transportation, (3) walking alone after dark
Most people are most fearful of taking public transportation alone at night (by a long
shot), and women fear it more than men even though both fear it the most out of the
Younger Canadians are more likely to feel safe, even though seniors have the least
chance of having crime committed against them
Able bodied, males, non-aboriginals, people with an income higher than $20,000 are the
people who are the most satisfied with their security
Past victimization lowers feelings of security
The more you do an activity, the safer you feel doing it
Avoidance Behaviours
Lifestyle changes in order to reduce one’s risk of becoming a victim of crime, ex. don’t visit
Deterrence Behaviours
Specific anticrime measures designed to reduce one’s risk of becoming a victim of crime, ex.
keep some lights on in the house when you’re out
Public Perceptions of Crime
oFocus on ‘street’ not ‘suite’ crime (most people think street crime is more serious)
o“stranger danger” (most people know their assailant)
oPoor people commit almost all crimes
oCapital punishment is an effective deterrence
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CRM 1300B
oHigh recidivism rates – ‘once a criminal, always a criminal’ (often it is a breach of
conditions that send them back to jail)
oOverestimate rates of parole release and re-offending by parolees
oBelieve crime is worse in other communities
oCorrections are viewed most poorly (out of police, etc.)
oAttitudes vary with region
oFalse preconceptions:
oThat crime is increasing
oThat violent crimes happen more often than property crime
oThat we can spot the bad guy
oThat people with mental illness are irrational and aggressive
oThat all criminals are from a lower socioeconomic standing
Factors Affecting the Crime Rate
Report sensitive – people more likely to report if the certain crime is more in media,
oEx. In the past seeing a parent spanking their child was seen as a family matter,
not a crime
oEx. Drinking and driving was seen as a personal decision before the campaigns
Policing sensitive – police decide to not come down so hard on pot anymore,
classifying it differently does not change how often it happens, only how it’s reported,
gov’t can influence this
Technology sensitive – increase in cameras means catching more people shoplifting,
etc., people with personal cameras putting crimes seen on YouTube, introducing new
crimes with the introduction of new technology or facilitating crime so it can both
increase and crack down on crime, Breathalyzer make it easier to stop drunk drivers
Definition sensitive – changes to laws and modifying old laws so that something not a
crime previously is now a crime or vice versa
oEx. Smoking weed now legal in parts of the states
Demographics – more younger people means more crime, higher unemployment rate
means more crime, etc.
The Uniform Crime System of Reporting (UCR)
Was designed to generate reliable crime statistics for use in all aspects of law enforcement
1961 – Applies standard definitions to all offences
No victim characteristics
1988-UCR2 - incident based
Included more details (info on victims, on accused, on circumstances)
Based on a sample of police reports
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