Chapter 3 textbook summary

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University of Toronto St. George
Woodsworth College Courses
Scot Wortley

The natureextent of crime CH 3crime rates does more than reflect the simple facts of crime5 factors affect the crime rate1 some crimes are reportsensitive the willingness of the public to report the crime determines whether we know about it2 policesensitive crimes reflect the level of police enforcementdrug crime for example is proactively investigated by the cops otherwise many drug offenses would not be detected3 crimes are definitionsensitive so a change in the law changes the rate crimes sensitive to legislative activity gambling for example has been decriminalized by loosening the criminal sanctions around gaming4 mediasensitive crimes causes a feedback loop when publicized changing the perceptions of the public and their willingness to report crimes that is sensitive to media attention eg youth crimein the media increases public concern which increases reports to police which makes the news5 real trends in the number of crimes in SOC which leads us to ask what causes crimeTHE UNIFORM CRIME REPORT UCR UCRan aggregate census based on reports from police forces acorss CND the official basis for crim research in CDN CCJS collects info on crime reported by the cops every year thru UCR surveys represent crimes substantiated thru police investigation valuable base from which to study crime in SOC revised in 84 to collect more detailed info eg victim and accused CHARs age sex relationship and incident CHARs eg location time weapons answers how and why offenses occur the revised UCR2 incidentbased dataprovides data on such factors as locationREL between offendervictim st1 collected bu Niagara policeCCJS also collected detailed info on murder in the homicide survey since 61COLLECTING THE UCR police will monthly report to the CCJS the incidence or number of crimes known to the number of crimes reported to the police in a given time period official crime count is taken from all complaints of crime received from victims themselves or officers who discovered the infractions crime database REP only what the cops know about the crimes some crimes r never detectedreported validity checks of the crime statistics before results made publicshow all the crimes reported to the cops that are felt to be foundedexcluding false reports theof crimes reported to the cops that are investigatedbelieved to be real otherwise known as actual UCR uses several terms to express crime datast 1 the actual number of crimes reported to the cops and arrests made R expressed in raw figures eg 38 murders in 1997nd 2 thechange in the amount of crime between years is computed calculating the increasedecrease in crime rates over a period of yrs so we can tell if SOC is becoming more dangerousrd 3 expressing crime data by the crime rate per 100 000 PPLcalculating the crime rate involves dividing the TOT crimes by the POP which enables changes in the POP to be ignored when looking at changes in crimeFORMULACrimesPOP10 000rate597 homicides33 mill PPL100 00018 the measure is not weighted by the relative POP07 national crime rate at its lowest in 30 yrs much more property crime than violent crime in CDN 07 property offenses accounted for 48 of all criminal incidents while 13 in 07 were violent crimes 39other criminal offenses Historically crime rates have been increasing moving from east to west across CDN pattern begun to change recently crime rates of atlantic provinces R surpassing those in ONTQuebec Hartnagelsuggests high rates of inmigration have higher rates of propertyviokent crime coz GEOGR mobility produces weakened informal SOC control large sclae changes in the ECO with a rapid change in POP are destabilizing police report the TOT number of crimes that were cleared crimes that r determined to be founded which are then solves or cleared away by the police cleared crimes dont necessarily result in charges or convictions crimes are cleared in 2 ways1 when at least 1 person is arrested chargedturned over to the court for prosecution or2 when some element beyond police control precludes the PHY arrest of an offender eg when a suspect dies or leave the country a casecan be cleared otherwise even with no charge being laideg going to alternative measure programs homicide has highest clearance rate then violent crimes then property crimespolice devote more resoruces to these more serious actsvictimwitnesses are able to ID the offender as we proceed thru the system number of cases being deald with gradually drops this is called attritiondecrease in cases as they make their way THRU the criminal justice system or a crime funnel as cases move further into the crim justice system the number of cases being deald with gradually drops illustrating how the number of crimes punished is lower than the number committedACCURACY OF THE UCR limitations on accuracy 5 areas of concern reporting practices law enforcement practices legal definitions meia practices methodological problemsREPORTING PRACTICES many crimes as reportsensitive not reported to police by victims likelihood of reporting crime also varies by crimecoz of underreporting use victimization surveys to measure number or crimes not reported to the cops 04 overall rate of victimization increased while report rate decreased UCR data significantly underREP the TOT number of annual criminal eventsLAW ENFORCEMENT PRACTICES the way in which police departments enforcerecord criminal delinquent ACT affect validity this means crimes are policesensitive some may be tempted to lower the crime rate to improve a public image boosting police efficiency may also increase crime rates a rising crime rate may just be result of improved policerecordkeeping ability how law enforcement interpret the definitions of crimes also affects crime rates variation in how much attention you pay to guidelines some may define crime loosely and eg not report a trespass as buglary the way in which police enforce the law affects the crime rate eg will detect much more crime by going undercover than waiting for someone to report a crime to them eg explosion in cannabis possession charges due to an increased interest in its use some research shows drug enforcement is highger in juriasdictions where laws allow cops to retain
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