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Canada (162,367)
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SOCI 2450 (35)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Summary.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCI 2450
Professor
Darryl Davies

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Chapter 2 Summary A Brief History Although the gathering of crime statistics is a relatively new phenomenon, population statistics have been collected since pre-Roman times; the taking of censuses can be traced back to the times of Christ, 11 century English landowners, and the Incas (a pre-Colombian indigenous empire) among others Inferences based on statistical demographic, though, is a relatively recent trend which developed over the last 200 years; English economist Thomas Robert Malthus with his Essay on the Principle of Population as It Affects the Future Improvement of Society (claimed ever-increasing human population would soon result in warfare, crime and starvation) provides the earliest example As a result of Malthusian thought, investigators began to gather statistics to measure the degree to which crime existed in societies of the time and gauge the “moral health of nations” Andre-Michel Guerry was one of the first of theth investigators and calculated per capita crime rates in various French provinces in the 19 century; Adolphe Quetelet published a statistical analysis of crime in a number of European provinces in 1835; his study showed him that violent crimes increase in the summer and property crimes increase in the winter (led him to develop “thermic law”- that morality undergoes seasonal variation and still accepted today) First official crime stats appeared in London’s Gazette starting in 1828 and France’s 1825 Compte generale; soon comparisons began to be formed between economic conditions and crime rates; these early statisticians formed the historical basis for the statistical school of criminology Usefulness of Crime Statistics Crime statistics paint a picture of reality in regards to crime in this country (describe the nature and extent of crime and can act as a gauge of society’s well-being) Used as a basis for social policies but also crucial in evaluating that policy; for example, programs aimed at crime prevention over punishment look to crime stats to show which groups of people are most likely to commit certain crimes Also important to remember that predicting criminal activity and behaviour is an inexact science; th in the early 20 century, for instance, Cesare Lombroso thought he could predict criminal behaviour based on the physical characteristics of an individual such as the size of their ears and shape of their nose Crime Reporting in Canada Crime stats in Canada are reported in two major surveys: the Uniform Crime reporting (UCR) system and the Victimization Survey, conducted through the General Social Surveys; both fall under Stats Canada department; both surveys examine national perspectives towards crime from unique perspective and thus cannot be compared directly with one another The Uniform Crime Reporting Systems (UCR) was developed in 1961 through Statistics Canada and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police; its purpose is to first provide a standardized procedure for police across the country to collect information about crime/ report it to Stats Canada and then to organize and make that data available to the public Between 1962 and 1988, the official crime stats came from summarized monthly reports and thus were criticized for being less useful because they did not deal with individual crimes or statistics; in 1988 the emphasis was shifted from aggregate/ summary data collection to incident-based collection Crime rates in UCR surveys are always reported based on a population of 100 000; a crime rate of 943 means that there are
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