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measuring crime and deviance

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William Magee

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Sociology Lecture October 5, 2010 Measuring Crime and Deviance We get out information from statistics, police reports, literary sources, internet, popular culture, interviews with everyday people, self-report surveys, institutions such as mental or hospitals, historical records, historical criminal justice records, official data Problems with Acquiring Crime and Deviance Data Subject of inquiry is deliberately hidden people are rarely public about their crime or criminal behavior; average drug dealer makes minimum wage or lower but we can never be certain because it is hard to acquire such information; Deviants have little insight into the broader nature and extent of their behaviour o Many forms of crime are committed in groups but some are not such as murder -> what does one murderer know about another one? Not much, not a lot of insight Access to deviants is costly, time consuming and often only partial o Hard to get access to deviant group because their not gonna let you in, gotta establish trust first and that takes time; most of the information is anonymous Much deviance lies beyond the scope of research; a lot of crimes we dont do research on Sociologists are not able to pass effortlessly into every alien situation o Not everyone is accessible; how can a white middle class sociologist get into a black gang in Detriot? Barriers exist within social worlds, even if access is gained Social worlds are not representative o Just because you have information about one group, doesnt mean others are alike- Gang A isnt Gang B Sources of Data Uniform Crime reports (UCR) o Standardized ounts of crims known to the police o National statistics about crime rates that we keep through statistics Canada o Eventpopulation size x 100,000; ex. Murder rate in Toronto- 60 murders is the event , population is 2 mil and multiply that by
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