Official Crime Data: four major forms
Uniform crime reports has a problem of judgement/ police do have discretion to
not fill out a form/ these are crimes that are known to the police- 80 to 90 are
reported by civilians, the other 10 to 20 % are crime that the police has discovered.
Annual report. The UCR form was revised in 1984- more sophisticated analysis of
crime and patterns. Crime count -is the actual number. Percentage change, often
from year to year +or - %. Crime rate- per capita per 100 000.
Higher homicide rate in the Northwest Territories because gun availability and male
female ration. A lot of crime is concentrated among young people.
Strengths of UCR, they have standardized reporting that permit comparisons/
provide accurate analysis/ understand when and where crime takes place
Weakness, most crimes are not reported to the police/ reflect the nature of police
activity/ changing legal definitions can make it difficult to track trends/ cases
that police decide not to report/ only the most serious crimes are reported.
Coroner’s reports ( good source of data on homicides)
World health organization data (official data on source of death)
Unofficial crime date
Victimization surveys Take a random sample of the population and ask them
question. From this we realize that most of the crimes are not reported (ex.
Self-report surveys you ask people
Combined Victimization-self-report survey
Public opinion surveys document the fear of crime, the performance of the police
the laws, what should the government do. To have a good survey you have to be
careful with the sample.
*those who are most afraid of crime are the least likely to be victimized, those who
demonstrated less fear are more likely to be victimized