The Measurement of Crime by 0QkGX5N1


									     The Measurement of Crime:
     Official Crime Data

1.   UCR
2.   NCVS
Official Crime Data
 Comes from a number of sources
1. UCR (or police reports of offenses and
2. Charges filed by prosecutors
3. Imprisonment data
4. Prison releases
Police Statistics on Crime (UCR)
 Uniform Crime Reports
 Begun in 1930’s
 Need for reliable, uniform crime statistics for
  the nation
 The U.S. Department of Justice instituted the
  compilation (by FBI) and publication
 FBI receives data from more than 17,000 city,
  university and college, county, state, tribal, and
  federal law enforcement agencies (voluntarily
 For the most part, agencies submit monthly
  crime reports, using uniform offense definitions,
  to a centralized repository within their state. The
  state UCR Program then forwards the data to
  the FBI's national UCR Program.
 Coverage: 90% in cities, 87% in rural areas
Three annual publications
 Crime in the United States
 Hate Crime Statistics
 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and
Data collection
 Monthly basis
 FBI provides report forms, UCR Reporting
  Handbook (1984), and self-addressed
 UCR Reporting Handbook – general rules for
  the classification and scoring of criminal
 Definitions are important for standardization
  of reporting practices
UCR includes
1. Crimes reported to local law enforcement
2. The number of arrests made by police
  Structure of UCR
 Index Crimes (“Part I”)      Non-Index Crimes (“Part II”)
                               Simple assault
 Murder
                               Forgery
 Forcible rape
                               Fraud
 Robbery                      Embezzlement
 Aggravated assault           Buying, receiving, and
 Burglary
                                possessing stolen property
                               Carrying/possessing weapons
 Larceny-theft
                               Prostitution
 Motor vehicle theft          Sex offences
 Arson (1979)                 Drug use violations
                               Gambling
                               Offense against family/children
UCR tabulates
 The number of offenses
 National Volume, Trends, and Rates
 The offense rate per 100,000 population
 The UCR Program examines data in
  increments of 2, 5, and 10 years to formulate
  trend information (in percentage change)
UCR tabulates
 The offense rate by region (Northeast, Midwest,
  South, and West)
 The UCR Program aggregates crime data into three
  community types: Metropolitan Statistical Areas
  (MSAs), cities outside metropolitan statistical areas,
  and nonmetropolitan counties
 The UCR Program collects weapon data for murder,
  robbery, and aggravated assault offenses
 An examination of these data indicated that most
  violent crime (30.7 percent) involved the use of
  personal weapons, such as hands, fists, feet, etc.
  Firearms were used in 26.4 percent and knives or
  cutting instruments were used in 15.5 percent of
  violent crime
UCR tabulates
 The nature of the offense (age, gender, race
  of offenders and victims)
 The arrest (or clearance) rates of offenses
 Crimes are cleared in two ways:
 1. When at least one person is arrested,
  charged, and turned over to the court for
 2. When some element beyond police control
  precludes the physical arrest of an offender
  (for example, the offender leaves the country)
Clearance (2005)
       Offence           Frequency      Clearance Rate

1. Larceny-Theft           7 million       18%

2. Burglary                2 million       13%

3. Motor Vehicle Theft    1.2 million      14%

4. Aggravated Assault      1 million        56%

5. Robbery                 500,000          25%
6. Rape                    100,000          46%
7. Arson                    80,000          16%
8. Murder                  16,000           63%
Murder: Definition
 The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program
  defines murder and nonnegligent manslaughter as
  the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being
  by another.
 The classification of this offense is based solely on
  police investigation as opposed to the determination
  of a court, medical examiner, coroner, jury, or other
  judicial body
 The UCR Program does not include: suicide, or
  accident; justifiable homicides; and attempts to
  murder or assaults to murder, which are scored as
  aggravated assaults
Ambiguity with murder
 A victim of aggravated assault dies
 Follow-up investigation are important for
  correcting multiple monthly reports
 Less reliable agencies fail to record
  subsequent death of the victim as murder
Killings that don’t count
 Corporate killings (rarely perceive as
  homicide or prosecuted as such)
 Unsafe working conditions, unsafe
  pharmaceutical products, unfit food products
  or illegal emissions into the environment
Killings that don’t count
 Death by driving is not treated as “real “
  homicide (because does not fit the definition)
 According to the U.S. Department of
  Transportation, 16,694 people died in
  alcohol-related crashes in 2004, down 2.4
  percent from 17,105 in 2003
Killings that don’t count
 Deaths in custody and During the Course of
 Issue of deaths in prison or police custody or
  at the hands of police in the course of arrests
 When police or prison officers cause the
  deaths of those they encounter (suspects or
  convicted criminals), these deaths are often
  not viewed as unlawful
Killings that don’t count
 Hidden Bodies (no corpse = no homicide)
 Missing Persons: 85% to 90% of the 876,213
  persons reported missing to America’s law
  enforcement agencies in 2000 were juveniles
  (persons under 18 years of age)
 Establishing Mode of Death: due to
  complexities in establishing cause of death
 In a case of a discovered body, it is not
  always possible to determine whether the
  death was a result of foul play
Establishing Mode of Death
 One of key purposes of a medical-legal
  autopsy is to establish the mode of death
 Four modes of deaths are possible:
 Natural
 Accidental
 Suicide
 Homicide
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
 Distinguishing SIDS from homicide can be
 SIDS is characterized by the death of
  seemingly healthy babies where the cause of
  death cannot be identified
 It has been estimated that around 20% of
  SIDS cases are in fact suspicious infant
Assessment of UCR data
 Unknown, probably massive amount of crime
  that goes unreported to the police (“dark
  figure” of crime)
 Participation in the UCR is voluntary, not all
  police departments send crime reports to the
 UCR does not include federal crimes
  (blackmail), white collar crimes
Assessment of UCR data
 In any single event, the most serious crime
  is reported (”hierarchy rule”) for statistical
 The UCR’s Crime Index Total misrepresents
  the crime rate at any given year
 Decrease in the number of larcenies cancels
  out an identical increase in the number of
  homicides (constant crime rate)
 Auto theft, a less serious crime, has a very
  high reportability (artificially inflates the crime
  index rate)
Unweighted Index
 Murder has the same weight as a auto theft
 Imagine two cities each with a crime rate of
  100 per 100, 000 population. In city A, 100
  murders were recorded whereas in city B,
  100 joyrides were recorded.
 The existence of the “Crime Index” may
  cause police agencies to concentrate on
  these crimes at the expense of other crimes.
 Most crimes that are committed are not index
  offenses (Hagan, 2004)
Discontinuing the use of the Crime
 In June 2004, the CJIS APB approved
 discontinuing the use of the Crime Index in
 the UCR Program and its publications and
 directed the FBI publish a violent crime total
 and a property crime total until a more viable
 index is developed
    Assessment of UCR data
 UCR data are more valid indicators of the behavior
    of the police than of offenders (Barkan, 1999)
   Decision whether to record
   Do not believe the victim’s account (Block, 1990)
   May be busy to do the paperwork to record it
    (especially if the crime is not serious)
   If there is no record = there is no crime
Assessment of UCR data
 Police departments have a dilemma (more
    crime=more resources, less crime=good work)
   Poor, nonwhite males are more likely to be
   Public is more likely to report
   Research suggests that police personnel and
    funds are concentrated in nonwhite poor
    neighborhoods (more arrests in these areas)
   Arrest data gives a distorted picture of the
    “typical offender”
Assessment of UCR data
 Official number of crimes might change
  artificially (citizens become more or less likely
  to report offenses committed against them)
 Example: increased number of reported rapes
  in the last two decades partly reflect growing
  awareness by women and police
Assessment of UCR data
 Police in various communities have different
  understanding and definitions of crimes
 One study found that Los Angeles police
  recorded any attempted or completed sexual
  assault as rape, while Boston police recorded a
  sexual assault as a rape only if it involved
  completed sexual intercourse (Chappell, 1980)
 Result: Boston’s official rape rate was much
  lower than that for Los Angeles
Redesigned UCR
 the National Incident-Based Reporting
  System, or NIBRS
 The NIBRS collects data on each single
  incident and arrest within 22 crime categories
 For each offense known to police within these
  categories: incident, victim, property,
  offender, and arrestee information are
  gathered when available
 Use of alcohol immediately before the
The National Crime
Victimization Survey (NCVS)
 The NCVS is under the auspices of the
  Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
The National Crime
Victimization Survey (NCVS)
 Begun in early 1970’s to avoid the police
  reporting problems and bias
 Provide more detailed information than UCR
 Context of crime such as time of day and
  physical setting in which it occurs
 Characteristics of crime victims (gender, race,
  income, age, extent of injury, and relationship
  with their offenders)
 Characteristics of the offenders
 Whether victimization has been reported to
  the police
The National Crime
Victimization Survey (NCVS)
 Every six months the Census Bureau
  interviews about 110,000 residents age 12
  and older
 50,000 randomly selected households
 Aggravated and simple assault, rape and
  sexual assault, robbery, burglary, larceny-theft,
  motor vehicle theft
 No homicide, arson, commercial crimes, white
  collar crimes, gambling
 Crimes are described to respondents
Forcible rape
 UCR: underreported crime
 NCVS: around 30% of victims do not report
  rape to the police
 Males have higher victimization rates then
  females for all violent crimes except
  rape/sexual assault
 Young people have greater victimization risk
  than older people (victim risk diminishes
  rapidly after 25 years old)
 African Americans had higher violent
  victimization rates than whites or other races
 People in the lowest income categories are
  much more likely to become crime victims
 Females and African Americans were more
  likely to report a crime to police than were
  males and whites (Barkan, 1999)
Males victims of DV
 “I am larger than her. I was a one time amateur
  boxing champion. She never used weapons,
  so she never came close to hurting me
  physically. But she hit me whenever she got
  the notion to, she cut up my clothes and threw
  them in the yard, she destroyed the trophies I
  had accumulated in various sports
  competitions since childhood, and she
  destroyed a wedding album. Neither party was
  blameless, but the physical violence was all
Males victims of DV
 “I was in a hellish marriage with a woman
  who had difficulty controlling her rage, which
  would frequently erupt with her hitting, verbal
  abuse, and screaming. If fighting with her did
  occur, it was self-defense; if she threw a
  punch or kicked, I defended myself. In one
  particular case, after she initiated a fight by
  kicking and throwing punches, she called the
  police to report me as the violent abuser!
  When they responded, I was seen as the bad
  guy, she was the victim! “
Males victims of DV
 “I was abused too many times and decided to
  end the relationship but I was unable to do
  so. The abuse intensified, she did not
  hesitate to hit me ... She also clawed me
  numerous time and even cut me with a knife.
  I was again failed to report the incidents to
  the authority. Many times she had threatened
  me that if I bring any charges against her, she
  would not hesitate to bring false charges
  against me ...”
 UCR data are based on reported criminal
  acts (offender characteristics)
 NCVS data based on individuals actually
  victimized (characteristics of victims)
Assessment of NCVS
 Document a massive amount of crime that goes
   Underestimate crime rate
   Insignificant crimes tend to be forgotten
   Victims of several crimes may also forget about
    all the crimes
   Females do not report victimization if her abuser
    live in the same household
Assessment of NCVS
 NCVS respondents are interviewed every six
  months (7 interviews)
 Reported victimization rates usually decease
  with each interview (awareness of
 Overestimation of some crimes
 Respondents might mistakenly interpret some
  noncriminal events as crimes
 “Telescoping “ effect
How do UCR and NCVS differ?
 The UCR Program provides a reliable set of criminal
  justice statistics for law enforcement administration,
  operation, and management, as well as to indicate
  fluctuations in the level of crime in America
 The NCVS provides previously unavailable
  information about victims, offenders, and crime
  (including crime not reported to the police)
 The two programs employ different methodologies,
  but they measure a similar subset of serious crimes.
  Both programs cover forcible rape, robbery,
  aggravated assault, burglary, theft, and motor vehicle

To top