WDW370H1 Youth Justice
January 23, 2012
Counting and Measuring Youth Crime
Several sources of information
- Official statistics (police, court, correctional)
- Self-report surveys
- Victimization surveys
- Prevalence vs. incidence
Main source of information on crimes in Canada is
- Uniform Crime reporting system began in Canada in 1962
- What is being measured?
o Crimes known by the police to have taken place – Founded crimes, crimes police
have investigated and found to be true – not necessarily lead to a conviction
3 general Categories
- Violent crime – assault, rape, homicide
- Property crime - theft
- Other crime – things illegal under Criminal code but don’t fall into those two categories,
Some alleged crime does not appear on these UCR records.
Why? – Dark figure of crime that haven’t been discovered by police
Most Serious Offence
- A person may be charged with three or four offences but only the most serious one goes
- How is most serious crime determined?
- The longest maximum sentence – for all offences that have taken place in criminal
incident it is that that holds longest sentence – normally violent crimes trump property
and other crimes.
What are Violent Crimes?
Homicide (1 , degree, 2 degree murder, etc)
What proportion of youth crime in Canada is violent? Approximately a third of all crime. But if a
violent crime is committed with another offence, violent crime is the only one that will show up –
other types of crime are underestimated.
What types of violent crime are Canadian youth involved in?
Amongst females violent crime is very low
Crime (all) and Age – rate of criminal activity or accused – age range 16-19 yrs, gets lower as
older you get – Aging out of crime. Most males involve themselves with some deviant activity. 2
Refer to the textbook: strengths and weaknesses of Police Statistics
- Has almost 100% coverage – data from across the country
- It’s uniform across jurisdictions, everyone is filling out the same thing
- On a national scale this allows for some comparability
- Different policing priorities around jurisdictions, police statistics are often more indicative
of police practices than they are of crime.
- Also only reports most serious offences, so large data of crime that will never make its’
way to the UCR
- Dark figure of crime not reported
- Only captures crimes that are founded by police, there is a huge discretion with youth
- Doesn’t tell about characteristics of offender or offence itself
Self-Report Surveys (S-R-S)
- Most statistics on youth crime prior to 60’s relied on police reported crime
- Self-report surveys came about partly as a better way to measure and understand crime
that does not come to the attention of the police
- SRS seek anonymous reports from youth and adults about the offences that they have
committed over a specified period of time
- Information is normally collected on demographi