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Canada (161,661)
Sociology (1,112)
SOC 1500 (173)
Chapter 3

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SOC 1500
Andrew Hathaway

CHAPTER 3 THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF CRIME • Reporting-sensitive o Is the public willing to call police? • Policing-sensitive o What are police looking for? • Definition-sensitive o Has the law changed? • Media-sensitive o What is the media publicizing? • Real change o Is behaviour changing? UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS (UCR) • Collected by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics o 1962: aggregate (summary) data collected each month from all police forces o 1984: revised UCR2 collects information about each crime, more detail, 148 police forces participate (about 90% of all crime) Incident based data: Data n specifics like where is happened and relationships etc. o CCJS also conducts Homicide Survey (since 1961) • When collecting the UCR you have to look at o The incidence of crime • Actual (reported) and founded (through investigation) o Percentage change from year to year o Broken down into violent, property, and other o Crime rate is # of crimes / population x 100,000 o Clearance rate (by charge or otherwise) • Can the police identify a suspect? • Varies for different offences ACCURACY OF UCR • Reporting practices o Will people call the police? o Ex. sexual assault • Law enforcement practices o Are police enforcing some crimes, not others? o Ex. zero tolerance policies, effect of forfeiture laws • Legal Definitions o Have the laws changed? Ex. Prostitution, sexual assault, ar • Media practices o Do news stories encourage citizens to report more incidents? When a crime is committed, the victim reports it to the police, the media picks up on it, the public finds out and politicians feel the need to do something. Almost a cycle that repeats itself o Do news reports encourage police to crack down? • Methodological practices o How are the crimes counted? o How do police decide if a crime is founded SELF REPORT SURVEYS • People report their own criminal activities anonymously • Usually quite accurate • But not always the case. Problems include • Lying • Forgetting • Bragging • People not wanting to admit their crime. Not feeling the need to do so • Used with captive audience (ex. Students, prisoners) • Emphasis is on minor offences o Ex. drug and alcohol use • Are the most deviant least likely to respond? o Ex. Truants (kids who skip school and ish)  “Missing cases” are people who can make up a significant portion of the population. They may be crime prone. VICTIM SURVEYS  This is the third source of crime data used and surveys people if they have ever been victims in a crime  US since 1966; Canada since 1988  Some surveys include: o Mainly through telephone interviews o Canadian Urban Victimization Survey (CUVS) o General Social Survey (GSS) o Violence Against Women Survey (VAWS)  Problems with this include: o Over reporting  Loss is reported as theft o Telescoping  Identifying past victimization as recent o Underreporting  Forgetting, embarrassment, fear o Doesn’t include personal criminal activity  Sampling problems  Excludes people without phones, underage victims o Question format  Poor format may invalidate answers HOW SIMILAR ARE THESE  UCR tallies and contains data on list of crimes  Self-report provide information on personal characteristics  Victim survey provides information on unreported crimes  Similarities o Measure different things o Survey rates are higher than reported rates o Self-report depends on honesty, accuracy, and integrity of criminals  Differences o Are complementary o Often show similar trends and patterns o Agree on personal characteristics of serious crime and criminals o Agree on location and time of crime ATLERNATIVE SOURCES OF INFORMATION  Crisis index for justice o Critical in system that “responds to crime primarily by punishing offenders” o Virtually ignores the victims and communities hurt by crime. o This show the differences in provinces by:  Overall and violent crime rate  Incarceration rate  Spending on prisons  Spending on community corrections  Commissions of Inquiry o Appointed by both federal and provincial for investigations. o Not normally publicized by media and not investigated by police. Examples include  Native justice  Sexual abuse in religious and government institutions  Doping in sports  The federal sponsorship program CRIME TRENDS  Attracts a lot of attention because (as told by Steven Levitt): o Increase in police o Increase in prison incarcerations
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