CRI205H1 Chapter 3: Criminology in Canada - The Nature and Extent of Crime

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Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies
Reza Barmaki

Chapter Three Week Two: Sept 20th, 2016 The Nature and Extent of Crime Reportsensitive: crimes are sensitive to victims reporting them if sexual assault is not reported then it is unlikely the police will know about it Policesensitive: crimes are sensitive to law enforcement drug crime is proactively investigated by police; otherwise, it would not be detected Definitionsensitive: crimes are sensitive to legislative activity gambling has seen a loosening of criminal sanctions around gaming Mediasensitive: crimes are sensitive to media attention youth crime, when covered in the media, increases public concern, which increases reports to police, which makes the news The Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Uniform Crime Report (UCR): an aggregate census based on reports from police, which is the basis for criminological research Incidentbased data: compared with aggregate UCR crime data, incidentbased data provides data on specific factors, such as the location of the offence and the relationship between the offender and the victim Problems omits many crimes victims do not report Collecting the UCR Incidence: the number of crimes reported to the police in a given time period Police report to CCJS with incidence which is taken from victim complaints and officers Founded: crimes reported to the police that are thought to be real o Reported even if no arrest made, or stolen property found How does the UCR express crime? o Actual number of crimes expressed as raw figures o Percentage change: an increase or decrease in crime rates over a period of years so that criminologists can tell whether society is becoming more dangerous o Crime rate: dividing total crimes by the population expressed as per 100,000 people, provides the relative likelihood of crime occurring Data not skewed by relative population, or population changes For example Ontario has more murders than NFL but also has a higher population With population factored in NFL murder rate is second highest Violent crimes lower than property crimes Crimes have increased moving from eastern Canadato western Canada Crime Severity Index o Introduced as a means to compensate for overall crime rates being driven by minor crimes o Offences are assigned by weights, which is based on sentences received in court o Problems: underscores the need to understand howcases are processed Cleared: refers to crimes that are determined to be founded, which are solvedcleared away by police, do not always result in charges or convictions (e.g. can be cleared by death, or an alternative measures program) Attrition or crime funnel: number of crimes punished are lower than those committedreported as many cases are dropped as they go through the system
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