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Sociology of Crime Notes Week 1

by: Samantha Summers

Sociology of Crime Notes Week 1 CRJU 341 004

Marketplace > University of South Carolina > Criminal Justice > CRJU 341 004 > Sociology of Crime Notes Week 1
Samantha Summers
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About this Document

The first lecture of notes. Look at the slides and my materials will supplement what is one those
Sociology of Crime
Dr. Isolm
Class Notes
how, IS, crime, reported




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Samantha Summers on Wednesday September 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CRJU 341 004 at University of South Carolina taught by Dr. Isolm in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see Sociology of Crime in Criminal Justice at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 09/14/16
Measuring Crime Lecture 8/31 Classifying crime Varies from federal to state and state to state; index offenses remain the same. Classified by severity of penalty Common distinctions Violations/ summary offenses Misdemeanors- year or under and up to 1000 dollar fine Felonies- prison instead of jail usually Uses of crime Data Classify criminal events and the characterisitics of offenders and victims Risk assessment for both victims and offenders Creating legislation and criminal justice policies Test theory Primary sources of crime data Official Data (uniform crime reports) NIBRS (national incident based reporting system)- not complete no mandatory reporting Victimization surveys NCVS Self report surveys Official Data Collected by official criminal justice agencies UCR- crimes known by police Index crimes part 1 and part 2 crimes Crime rates Clearance rates- goes through the criminal justice system; they know who do did, either by arrest, charge, or extenuating circumstances Strengths Can measure crime trends- over the course of time Only data that provides arrest information Professionalization of police forces increase confidence in data- increases confidence in the data; national data base makes things slightly more consistent Uniform crime report What the racial, gender and age breakdowns of index offenses? What are they for other offenses? Based on these statistics, who is most likely to commit an index offense? Arson isn’t really reported in UCR Clearance Rate Figure Based off of those known to the police, about 40% is known to police, general clearance rate of about 22% percent, violent crime 47% and for property crimes its about 20% Arrest rates and clearance are not the most accurate measure of crime. Clear violent crime more easily: more resources devoted, better evidence, populace is more caring, property crime- other ways to deal with it, gets noticed quicker, intrapersonal- contact with offender with violent crime most of the time. Problems with official crime statistics Better at capturing index offenses Variations in depth and quality of information Dependent on victim reporting Dependent on police recording- if it comes into the record at all, police have discretion on what cases they solve The Dark Figure of Crime Really don’t know how much crime is out there truly, true figure of offending we can’t tackle. Upside pyramid effect, goes further recorded, charged (arrest rates), then prosecuted, and then there has to be convicted and then you have to be sentenced before you are incarcerated UCR only captures total number of crimes recorded, and those who are charged with crimes Victimization surveys NCVS- national crime victimization survey; people are going in and out of the survey, not the same members of the family answer the question. Rolling sample, conducted by the census bearu Used to estimate national frequency of victimization Asks respondents about incident details Characteristics of victims, offenders, incident Loss/ injury Reporting to the police Half of violent crime is reported to police and only about 40% of violent crimes are reported to police Bias in self reporting Self Report surveys General deviance, misdemeanors, and drug use, boarder definition of crime, get a better picture Ask about offending behavior Information about the personality, attitudes, social characteristics, and behavior of offenders Generally focus on trivial offense People don’t tend to specialize in specific types of offenses Along with victimization surveys- closer estimate of the dark figure of crime Monitoring the future- high school seniors- most people offend Problems with victimization and self- report surveys Inaccuracies Over-representation of common deviance Relies on offender’s/ victim’s willingness to admit offense/ victimization Relies on victim’s knowledge that a crime took place Expensive and time consuming Best response rate come from face to face interviews, that’s why we don’t have longitudinal and nationally representative samples Which Measure is Best? Official Data: Best for… Counts of murder and other violent crime Arrest trends Victimization data: best for… Studying crime not reported to the police Providing greater detail on incidents Capturing broad range of offenses Assessing victim characteristics Self- report data: best for… Undetected, victimless crimes Assessing offender characteristics Analyzing broader social determinants of crime Other types of criminological research and data sources (secondary sources) Cohort studies Experiment and quasi experimental research Observation and interventions- qualitative research Meta analysis and systematic review Data mining- look for big picture data, which isn’t always from research, administrative records, cases, and drawing from social media Crime mapping- plot incidences, and see where things happen in certain areas Sources of data everywhere to analyze crime Take Away points There are 3 primary sources of crime data that measure the extent and nature of crime in the US They each tell a different (and imcomplete) story Official crime data


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