SOC212: Lecture 3
About first term test:
Take major points from Chapter one, but major portion from Chapter 2
‘Do you need to know who did a specific study’? Yes. Mention John Hagan and
Wall street, got to now what that means
First hour will be lecture, second hour will be the test
TA office hours on blackboard
Official Statistics official data (crime statistics) most common and most
orthodox method of indirect methods
Criminologists are increasingly using (expensive but great) longitudinal data,
o Can track changes between individuals and in individuals
When you have just police data, you can’t tell if there’s an increase in crime.
Because it’s aggregate data. You don’t know if there are more new people
becoming offenders, (difference between frequency and participation) So if Joe is
frequently committing a crime/week. Or is crime increasing because there are
now 5 new kids committing crimes. Aggregated data can’t tell you that
Generally speaking, crime statistics collected by provincial police are just
aggregate data on the number of arrests. They’re useful because they’re the most
common source (media can use it)
o But they only provide a part of the picture
o Also, depends on big cities (ie. Crime rate in New York is bound to be
higher than a smaller city, will have an overall big effect on the crime rate
in the US in general)
There was a study that revealed that there is an intense pressure in
lowering crime rate that officials manipulated crime statistics.
Researchers believed this was a periodic practice. When crime rates
began to fall in New York. Higher officials would then manipulate
the stats. But this isn’t in just specific to New York.
o They are a lot of things people consider deviant but aren’t arrested for
The wide geographic coverage of police data allows us to see if some provinces
in Canada or some regions in a given province that are worse than others.
The data is also interesting because it gives some idea on how deviance changes
over time (what people are arrested for changes all the time)
o Before, no one cared if a man beats his wife. Now they can both get
o Category of deviance change over time
1. Procedure used for gathering the statistics
police are more likely to collect data on more serous deviance.
Why? Because professionally oriented (promotions come if you solve
big crime) Because it’s more interesting (than people who just engage in
Political Advantage tremendous effort by police chief in Toronto
about the recent gang shootings
Which means minor types of deviance are going to be just passed
Additionally they might not spend time on crime that doesn’t involve
i. Ie. Someone dumping toxic waste down the street. May not be in
the crime statistics
Breaking and entering would be a felony
Butt he citizen or the police officer who observes a particular action
or comes to know of a particular event, has to see it fitting to the legal
definition. There are some cases where it would be blatantly obvious.
Where there is no doubt that that you saw a criminal act. (ie. Street
robbery, or physical assault on street)
Ie. What if a couple (two 17 year old) was at the mall and you saw the
guy hit the girl across her face. Does it constitute as assault?
Arresting officer determines if the event is a criminal event or not.
Police officers decision to define an act as crime depends on their
judgment and the discrepancy between what citizens think of a
criminal offence and what the police think was shown a long time by
Albert Reece was studied. The study showed interactions between
police and citizens. They had graduate students riding around in
police cars and observe the officers every time they made a report,
asked questions. Police can treat some incidents as a non criminal
matter when citizens consider it as a crime. Discrepancy could be that
police have more experience in determining what’s a crime and not.
But it could also be the interaction between police and the complaints
of the citizen.
BLACK: Factor’s affecting official recognition and crime incident
the police have to decide whether it’s a crime to be written down
i. Complainant deference (how nice the person was to the cop)
ii. Social Class
iii. Severity (the legal seriousness of the complaint)
iv. The relational distance between two parties involved (ie. If
woman gets beat up by husband vs. woman after lecture gets
beat up by someone from the bushes) ; parties who are
intimately related are less likely to be written up than strangers
v. Complainant preference: If the complainant said ‘I really want
you to do something about this’ the police are more likely to do
Reactive and proactive policing i. Policing is largely a reactive job. (they are responding to
citizen’s request for help )
ii. They found that 87% of police work were reactive (of all patrol
and mobilization) because someone requested help
iii. An individual’s decision to not call police, it affects crime
Why do victims not report crime?
i. Insurance (auto theft) more likely to be reported to police
(want the insurance money)
ii. The victim of the crime may be stigmatized for it. The
relationship with the offender is quite important. What
happened is a personal matter.
iii. 35% of victims of crime not with strangers did not call the police
iv. People are most likely to report a crime when it’s committed
against them by a stranger than by someone they know
v. What about an attempted crime (ie. Attempted burglary) do you
call the police? You should, but people don’t really.
vi. One exception is the victim/offender re