Soc209- lc 3 –jan 16- Representations of Crime
1. Analysis of Crime Statistics
– crime funnel
– police statistics
– self – report surveys
2. Media Representations
Analysis of Crime Statistics
Where do we get statistics on crime? - Online blogs, newspapers, television eg. Csi,
What are some problems with crime statistics? They don’t include crimes that weren’t
recorded, can be misrespresentive, dates that are chosen – why did the author chose
those dates? Underreporting, overreporting, statistics don’t really tell us the whole issue
and story of crime,
*measuring crime- we have already made assumptions on what constitutes crimes**
(that we know certain acitivties are criminal.)
Crime Funnel: larger number of cases get willed down to fewer and fewer – different
stages of the funnel.
- Signification case attrition throughout the funnel – a host of discretionary
descriptions of the funnel.
- CJS does not respond to every breach of the law.
- Most cases end with a guilty plea. – Even at the very tip of the crime funnel – we
are not sending people to a trail – the trail process is really reserved for a number of
small cases that actually make their way through this crime funnel.
- Few cases go to trial.
- What happens if someone doesn’t have enough time to go to trial? – sometimes
youll see a lower charge being offered- if you plead guilty – you wont go to jail.
(part of the crime funnel). It is useful because it explains the problems inherited in
criminal statistics. Q: what do crime rates actually address?
The Crime Funnel:
- A)Not all crime is detected.
- B)- not all detected crime is reported. – no mechanism for acutally knowing the
amount of crime that is out there – nor can we record all crime – in fact most crime
goes unreported. 58% of crimes go unreported.*
- Sexual assult, assult, personal theft, personal vandalism – less likely to be reported.
(reporting to the police officer)
- - possession of drugs or impaired driving may never be noticed or thought of as
- - cars theft is reported more often – why? – because it is expensive, insurance –
drives a lot of reporting for property crimes*
- - Serious incidents also go unreported. – for eg, 2/3 of women that were sexually
assaulted did not report the incident to police officers. – Why does it not get
reported? – because there are psychological consequences. – they don’t want to be victimized. ; for eg, domestic abuse – fears of being outside of that relationship – so
that’s why they don’t report.
- C)Not all reported crime is recorded.
- Role of police? 84% known to the police are reported, vs, 14% of those that are
- Police practices have a significant impact on crime statistics – may all offenders to
give warning – not going to be reported as a crime and why is this? There is a lot
of paperwork that police officers have to do, record a lot of detail that they rather
not do. – if nobody reports the crime to the police – it is very unlikely they are
going to do it themselves, the police may be under pressure to clean up the streets
in a particular area – we can see a rise in particular types of crime that are going to
be recorded. Sp policy policy has a play.
- The number of official crimes may increase, even though there was not a change in
the actual amount of crime committed. For eg. In school yard context fight
between two friends – was dealt in the school system. They contact the police to
keep the school safe. So if we look at statistics, it looks how crime is raising in
- - who gets caught and who doesn’t * is important – it figures into crime statistics.
- D) not all recorded crime results in arrests. – it may record a crime but may not
arrest the individual. For eg, different programs that police officers direct you too.
(that gets recorded into statistics)
- E) not everyone arrested is brought to trial. – lengthy and costly process- maybe the
judge throws out the case, too big of a delay, not enough evidence to proceed, that
doesn’t mean the act didn’t occur, but it won’t appear in trial statistics and won’t be
counted as trial cases. For eg, the crown says complete this anger management
program and we don’t go to trial.
- F) not everyone tried is convicted
- G) not everyone convicted Is sentenced.
Where do we get our understandings of crime statistics? All numbers have meaning. We
are not going to get a total picture of crime – only generalizations. The meaning of the
numbers are attached to the systems that collect them.*
Where do statistics come from?
a)Police statistics – individual police stations produce majority of statistics, for eg, gate
keepers of statistics these understandings of crime – they record their information on
standized forms on Uniforma Crime Reporting System*
Uniform Crime Reporting System
- Collects police statistics
- Launched 1961
- - sent to the Canadian centre for justice statistics. (standard definition of crime)
- Applies standard definitions to all offenders.
- The Canadian Centre for justice Statistics collects and reports data
- Juristat (google and look at their statistics) - UCR2 – kept detailed account – trying to get the characteristics of victim, weapons
used. – give a more detailed of victim, accused persons and incidents. More