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Learning Theories Differential Association Theory Sutherland 1947 0 Part of Chicago School 0 Influences I Thomas and Zhaniechi I Pact and Burgess s Social Ecology Model I Shaw and McKay s Social Disorganization Theory Sutherland was interested in why these areas have crime on an individual level Wondered llwhy o What processes cause certain areas to have higher crime rates I Through learning One of the most dominant crime theories and well supported Micro level Basic premise 0 People learn to commit crime I Example if you spend time with those that commit crime you are likely to commit crime or learn crime such as smoking marijuana Tenets of Differential Association Theory 9 tenets found on page 68 in Criminological Theory Weaknesses o Difficult to test mostly because of ambiguity or vague terms 0 Causal ordering one argument is delinquent friends lead to delinquency and another argument is delinquency leads to hanging around delinquent friend sortof like which came first the chicken or the egg 0 Spontaneous acts crimes of passion Are they covered under this theory Social Learning Theory Akers 1985 o Built upon differential association theory 0 Incorporated element of Bandura s 1969 social learning theory 0 One of the most strongly supported criminological theories Reinforcement and Punishment 0 Reinforcement increases behaviors I Positive reinforcement reward I Negative reinforcement removal of punishment Punishment decreases behaviors 0 Positive punishment subject to something unpleasant 0 Negative punishment removal of reward Chapter 1 Introduction to the Study of Crime Types Simplicity is highly regarded in almost all areas of life When giving directions to lost motorists or showing novices how to perform new tasks the phrase keep it short and simple is good practical advice Simple solutions are preferred to compli7 cated ones in public debates about tax reform or possible remedies to social problems Like ordinary citizens social scientists often seek the most parsie monious descriptions and explanations of human behavior The allure of rural living and the use of such language as the bottom line no nonsense and quick fixes give further indication of the culi tural value we place on simplicity Our pursuit of parsimony in science and every day life however is constantly confronted by a competing reality of complexity The details we for get to provide may result in motorists losing their way Concerned citizens and informed public Of i cials know that quick and simple solutions are rarely possible Social scientists also recognize the value of parsimony and the inevitable complexity of human behavior Impelled by a public desire for simple descriptions and explanations on the one hand and the academic pursuit of accuracy on the other social scientists often straddle the proverbial fence between parsimony and complexity Howe ever this happy median is rarely achieved The friction between simplicity and complexity is clearly revealed in the study of crime From the perspective of ordinary citizens crime and crime events are remarkably simple to describe and explain The following television and newspaper headlines capture the essential feature of crime D Student Found Slain Near Home ExiNBA Player Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping Gang Atmck Kills Two Little league Coach Arrested for Child Porn Pastor Charged With Child Abuse iiiii Police Videomped Beating Illegal Aliens D Three Given Life Sentences for Hate Killings D Wedding Ceremony Turns Into Murder Spree Media headlines about crime like citizen accounts outline particular criminal behaviors offenders profiles characteristics of the victims and the events situational contexts Criminal behavior is described with action verbs such as beaten stabbed attacked or with reference to legal definitions of crimes such as murder kidnapping child pornography Offenders are described by their relationship to the victims and we often spend much time and emotional energy trying to uncover the apparent motivation for their actions These motives may be revenge jealousy money frustration or an assortment of other factors Vice tims descriptions include age especially when they are children or elderly persons and status such as student employee or nonresident Situae tional contexts are described by the physical loca7 tions of the crimes the time of day and the pri7 mary activity taking place when the offenses occurred Knowledge of these simple elements satisfies our basic curiosity about crime Equipped with this knowledge citizens can reach some cloe sure on their pursuit ofanswers to the whoi whati when where and whyitype questions surround ing crime Crime Typologies in Criminological Research Criminologists employ a variety of classification schemes to capture the basic components of crime Crime typologies serve multiple purposes but they are designed primarily to simplify social reality by identifying homogeneous groups of crime behave iors that are different from other clusters of crime behaviors see Clinard Quinney and Wildeman 1994 Meier 1984 These classification systems increase our understanding of the shared features of criminal events and the effectiveness of current crime prevention strategies Crime typologies are classification systems that group together criminal offenses that share similar attributes Crime typologies are sometimes simple and sometimes complex focusing on either one or seve l 2 Crime Pro les Third Edition eral of the following elements 1 the criminal behavior 2 offender attributes 3 victim charace teristics and 4 the situational context Previous efforts at developing crime types based on these elements are summarized below LegalBased Typologies The most widely used crime typologies derive from legal definitions of criminal behavior Three types of legalrbased typologies have been used to classify crimes The crudest legal classification distinguishes between misdemeanor and felony offenses The major distinguishing feature in this scheme is the seriousness of the criminal act with prison sene tences of more than one year being reserved for fele ony offenses Under this typology felonies as diverse as murder punishable by up to a life sen tence or death and auto theft punished usually by probation or less than one year of imprisonment are treated equally even though they vary dramatie cally in offenders motivation situational contexts and reactions from criminal justice officials The wide disparity in the classification of particular offenses such as the possession of marijuana as either misdemeanors or felonies in different jurise dictions also limits the utility of this typology An alternative legal classification groups together offenses according to the source ofvictime ization Three general classes of crime are derived from this typology D Crinies against the person including murder sexual assault robbery and battery D Crinies against property including burglary larceny forgery embezzlement and auto theft l Crinies against public order including disturb ing the peace trespassing drunkenness drug use and prostitution When compared with the simple felonyemisdee meanor distinction it should be easy to see that this threeegroup legal classification more success fully emphasizes the similarities and minimizes the differences between offenses within each group For example crimes against the person are more similar to each other than they are to crimes in the other two categories The most widely accepted legal typology is the crime classification used in the Federal Bureau of Investigation s Uniforni Crime Reports UCR Under this typology a general distinction based primarily on the perceived severity of the offenses is made between Index Crimes also called Part I Offenses and Nonelndex Crimes Part II Offenses Index Crimes the major focus of crimie nological research include the following legally def1ned offenses The FBl s Uniform Crime Reports UCR is the most widely used legal typology in US criminology It focuses primarily on violent and property offenses within the category of Index Crimes l Mn rder and NoneNegligent Manslaughter Causing the death of another person without legal justification or excuse l Forcible Rape Sexual intercourse or at tempted sexual intercourse with a female against her will by force or threat of force l Robbery Unlawful mking or attempted taking ofproperty that is in the immediate possese sion of another by force or threat of force L07 cations of robbery include 1 highway streets alleys etc 2 commercial house 3 gas or service station 4 convenience store 5 residence 6 bank and 7 miscele laneous l Aggravated Assault Unlawful and intentional causing of serious bodily injury with or withe out a deadly weapon or unlawful intentional attempting or threatening of serious injury or death with a deadly weapon l Burglary Unlawful entry of any fixed struce ture vehicle or vessel used for regular resie dence industry or business with or without force with the intent to commit a felony or larceny Distinctions are made between the type of structure residential versus nonresie dential and time of da l LarcenyTheft Unlawful taking carrying leading or riding away by stealth of property other than a motor vehicle from the posses sion of another It includes 1 pocket pick ing 2 purse snatching 3 shoplifting 4 theft from motor vehicles 5 theft of motor vehicle parts and accessories 6 theft ofbicye cles 7 theft from buildings 8 theft from coineoperated devices or machines and 9 all other larceny Chapter 1 t Introduction to the Study oan39me Types 3 D MotoreVehicle Theft Unlawful taking or at tempted mking of a selfepropelled road vehie cle owned by another with the intent to def prive the owner of it permanently or tempo rarily It includes 1 automobiles 2 trucks and buses and 3 other vehicles D Arson Willful or malicious burning or at tempted burning of property with or without intent to defraud It includes the burning of 1 one s own property 2 the property of others and 3 public property There are clear differences in the UCR classificae tion within and between crime types based on the nature of the physical act and the resulting harm Murders for instance differ from other crime types in that the legally prohibited acts result in the death of others whereas differences within the general category of burglary depend on whether the crimes occur in the day or at night and involve residential or nonresidential locations While the Part I classification does not give ade quate attention to the soecalled victimless crimes such as gambling drug offenses and prostitution and the many forms of organizational and occupa tional crime such as embezzlement stock and securities fraud and collusion the UCR typology provides an important basis for the further devele opment of a crime classification scheme If the goal of a crime typology is to reduce complexity with out distorting differences within and between catee gories the UCR classification is a clear improve ment over the other legal typologies Clinard Quinney and Wildeman 1994 475 provide a comprehensive listing of the major prob lems with legal typologies based exclusively on the de nition of criminal behavior The problems with legal typologies include the following 1 they fail to include aspects of the offender the circume stances associated with the offense and the social context of the criminal act 2 the final legal status of the original criminal act may bear little reseme blance to the actual behavior due to plea bargaine ing 3 specific legal definitions vary by time and place thereby presenting problems for A r 39 analysis 4 they create the false impression that criminals specialize and confine themselves to the type of crime for which they happen to be caught or convicted and 5 they assume that offenders with certain legal labels such as burglars robbers and rapists are all of the same type or are products of a similar process The uncritical acceptance of state definitions of crime when many noncriminal acts may be more injurious to society is another major criticism of legal typologies OffenderBased Typologies Typologies based on the characteristics of offenders have a long history in criminology The three most distinguished early Italian criminoloe gistsiCesare Lombroso Raffaele Garofalo and Enrique Ferriideveloped various typologies according to the personal characteristics of offend ers As presented in his book The Criminal Man Lombroso 1889 argued that some criminals were of a different physical type from noncriminals Born criminals were genetic throwbacks to an earlier stage of human evolutionary development This criminal type exhibits a number of physical stigmata such as eye defects and abnormalities facial asymmetry large ears large jaws and long arms that distinguish them from other criminals and noncriminals Lombroso estimated that less than half of the offenders were born criminals Cesare Lombroso developed one of the first typologies ofcriminals His classification system included born criminals insane criminals and criminaloids Lombroso identified other criminal types including insane criminals and criminaloids Insane criminals exhibit low intelligence and psye chological defects and commit impulsive obscene and cruel acts Criminaloids the most frequent criminal type exhibit normal physical and psycho logical makeup and commit crimes precipitated by unusually stressful life events Among this general category of offenders Lombroso s criminals by passion possess noble traits like affection intege rity and altruism The crime of passionate crimie nals is often murder these offenders kill those who have dishonored their families or have been unfaithful to them Another criminal type occae largely opportunistic persons with little previous 39 wit ori 39 0 crime The offenderebased typologies developed by Garofalo and Ferri complement Lombroso s scheme Focusing on the physical attributes of offenders their criminal histories and criminal motivations Ferri 1917 identified five types of criminals 1 the insane 2 the born 3 the habitual 4 the occasional and 5 the passionate 4 Crime Pro les Third Edition Garofalo 1914 placed greater importance on psyi chological degeneracy than physical abnormalities in his four categories of criminal types 1 typical criminals or murderers who kill for enjoyment 2 violent criminals 3 criminals de cient in pity and probity and 4 lascivious criminals Other researchers have developed typologies and classi cation systems that derive from offendi ers personal attributes For example Sheldon 1949 classi ed individuals according to their body physiqueiendomorphic mesomorphic or ectomorphic The major assumption underlying this approach is that there is a strong association between physique and temperament with mesomorphic body builds linked with a higher likelihood of aggressive and criminal behavior Alternatively Katz 1988 used the interplay between criminal motivations and rationalizations in the development of the following typology 1 novice shoplifters 2 youthful bad asses 3 gan banging street elites 4 hardman robbers 5 righteous killers and 6 coldiblooded muri derers Offender classi cations based on menml disori ders and personality traits have been the mainstay of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists From this perspective criminal typologies have been associated with the identi cation of single person ality traits and groups of traits Clinical labels like impulsive antisocial neurotic and ps 7 chotic are often used to distinguish differences within and between types of offenders While offenderibased typologies have a long history they often suffer from serious problems of oversimpli cation and minimize the characterise tics ofvictims and the situational elements of crime The labels used to describe these offenders are typically vague and not easily applied to speci c instances of crime VictimBased Typologies Another form of individualistic typologies sion Previous classi cations of victims derive from the following singular characteristics level of shared responsibility behavioral patterns struci tural position and the extensiveness of the victimi ization career The most widely used basis for classifying vice tims is in terms of their level of shared responsibili ity for the criminal act Mendelsohn 1956 used the following categories to identify victim groupi ings 1 completely innocent victims 2 having minor guilt 3 as guilty as offenders 4 more guilty than offenders 5 most guiltyfully respon7 sible and 6 simulating or imagining The partic7 ular actions of victims during victimioffender encounters guide the level of shared responsibility Sheley 1979 highlighted the relative activity of victims and offenders in his typology 1 active offenderipassive victim 2 active offenderisemii active victim 3 active offenderiactive victim 4 semiipassive offenderiactive victim and 5 pas sive offenderiactive victim Under this scheme vice tims responsibility increases as they become more active and offenders less active in the commission of criminal offenses Victim typologies based on behavioral patterns are similarly concerned with shared responsibility In this case however the primary distinction rests on the extent of victim consent facilimtion or pre cipitation Facilitation is reserved for those situa tions in which victims unknowingly carelessly negligently foolishly and unwillingly make it ease ier for criminals to commit and consummate a crime Karmen 1990 Leaving front doors wide open for someone to break into homes or leaving keys in cars ignitions are examples ofvictim facilii tation Precipitation in contrast implies greater victim responsibility When applied to homicide victim precipitation means that victims were the rst in homicide dramas to resort to physical force which led to their subsequent deaths Wolfgang 1958 Typologies derived from the structural position of the victim involve the relative vulnerability of some groups to victimization compared with oth ers According to Karmen 1990 102 these vuli nerable victims include the following 1 the less powerful such as women in patriarchal society unorganized consumers 2 the weak such as the elderly or handicapped 3 the helpless andor the defenseless such as very young children and instii tutionalized populations 4 the haveinots 5 the different such as racial ethnic and religious minorities and 6 the deviant such as homo sexuals transsexuals and drug addicts The nal way of developing victim typologies focuses on the extensiveness of individuals history of criminal victimization Under this approach four categories have been identi ed 1 oneitimi ers 2 occasionals victims of two or three isolated and unrelated victimizations over a lifetime 3 recidivists who exhibit a frequent and persistent pattern of victimization within a short period of time and 4 chronics whose lives are a continuing series of victimizations Fattah 1991 Although victim typologies have been widely used to identify groups of persons with similar experiences they are limited as are most offendere based typologies by their oversimpli cation and the use of categories that are neither mutually exclusive individuals cannot be classi ed in one and only one category nor exhaustive not all indie viduals fall under the classi cation scheme Vice tim typologies also largely ignore the situational context in which crime occurs and the characterise tics of the offender Situational ContextBased Typologies Over the last two decades social scientists have become increasingly aware of the situational con text of crime From this perspective some physical settings and situations are more dangerous than others and the primary ask of criminologists is to identify the key features of these hot spots and dangerous places The presence of a lethal weapon the ease of access to the victim and escape routes the presence of drugs and alcohol the group con text of offending the temporal and physical setting and the level of protection provided to the victim are some of the many situational dynamics that in uence the likelihood of criminal events The designation of facilitating places facilitating hard ware and facilitating others as necessary condi7 tions for some criminal events also emphasize the importance of the situational context of crime Lo and 1969 The situational context for crime involves aspects of the physicasociaand temporary environment that influence the likelihood of the commission of crime events One of the most basic typologies of situational context focuses on the issue of crime domains These domains include 1 work 2 school 3 home and 4 leisure As a domain for criminal activity crimes that occur at work may be quite diff ferent than offenses in other settings in terms of victimeoffender dynamics the availability of guardians for protection the accessibility and visii bility of the potential crime target and the ability to resist detection School crimes may be more likely than other domains to be motivated by idene Chapter 1 lt Introduction to the Study oan39me Types 5 tity threats and statuseenhancement concerns Similar differences are thought to exist across the other domains MultiTrait Typologies Although singleitrait typologies based on legal categories offender characteristics victim attribe utes or situational contexts have been widely employed in the study of crime these approaches collectively suffer from the major problem of over simpli cation To overcome this de ciency several multiitrait behavioral typologies have been develi oped The most popular multietrait crime typology is the behavior systems approach developed by Clinard and Quinney 1975 Five dimensions are used in the development and classi cation of crime inal behavioral systems 1 legal aspects of selected offenses including de nitions of criminal con duct 2 criminal career of the offender involving the progression in crime and one s criminal self concept 3 group support of criminal behavior 4 correspondence between criminal and legitii mate behavior and 5 societal reaction and legal processing Considering these dimensions simulta7 neously Clinard and Quinney 1973 identi ed the following nine behavior systems D Violent Personal Criminal Behavior includ ing homicide assault and rape D Occasional Property Criminal Behavior in cluding forgery shoplifting vandalism and automobile theft l PubliciOrder Criminal Behavior including prostitution homosexuality drunkenness and drug use l Conventional Criminal Behavior including larceny burglary and robbery l Political Criminal Behavior including cone spiracy and political demonstrations D Occupational Criminal Behavior including such offenses as embezzlement expense ac count misuse bribery of public of cials and selling fraudulent securities l Corporate Criminal Behavior including the restraint of trade false advertising manufac7 turing unsafe food and drugs and environ menml pollution l Organized Criminal Behavior including drug traf cking loanisharking offitrack bet ting money laundering and racketeering 6 Crime Pro les Third Edition D Professional Criminal Behavior including con dence games pocket picking forgery and counterfeiting The major strength of this typology is its use of multiple traits or dimensions for identifying crime types and its intuitive appeal to most criminoloi gists Similar to other typologies however this approach can be criticized for its exclusion of other dimensions like victim attributes or criminal motivations and its failure to account for differ ences within each crime type To illustrate these withinicrime differences violent personal offendi ers are assumed to have little development of a criminal career because their acts are largely sponi taneous and impulsive but the professional hit man and the chronic neighborhood thug often have a firmly entrenched criminal selficoncept and career pattern Major exceptions can be found within each behavior system An alternative multietrait typology is provided by Gibbons 1992 Under his roleecareers approach social psychological characteristics of offenders such as their selfiimage and roleirelated attitudes change over their developmenml careers and varying conmct with law enforcement agencies and correctional institutions Gibbons identified 20 offender types based on patterns of illegal role behavior exhibited by criminals their selfiimage patterns and roleirelated attitudes Some of these types include professional thieves naive check forgers psychopathic assaultists and violent sex offenders Gibbons 1992 Unfortunately the primary weakness of this typology is that the catei gories tend to overlap their specific characteristics are not clearly delineated and the resulting typology re ects a loosely mixed and somewhat contradictory combination of legal sociological and psychological orientations Major Dimensions Underlying Crime Types Much of the controversy surrounding the utility of crime typologies centers on the particular dimensions selected to distinguish between categoi ries The Clinard and Quinney 1973 typology is based on legal definitions the offender s criminal career group support for this behavior its link to legitimate behavior and society s reactions Victim typologies are often based on the level of shared responsibility between the victim and offender Among the multitude of potential dimensions for distinguishing crime types we think the following attributes are especially important 1 the offender s criminal career 2 the offender s versai tility 3 the level of crime plannin 4 motivai tions for offending and 5 targetiselection factors The Offenders Criminal Careers As used by Clinard Quinney and Wildeman 1994 offenders criminal careers involve their social roles selficonception as criminals identifi7 cation with crime and progression in criminal activity Of these elements most attention has focused on the differences between novice first time and chronic also called repeat or habitual offenders Major distinguishing features of different crime types include differences in I the offender s crime career 2 versatility of offense behaviors 3 the level of crime planning 4 the motivations for crime and 5 targetselection factors Offenders criminal careers are a major distini guishing factor in the development of crime typologies because they are associated with characi teristics of offenses and the effectiveness of particu7 lar crime control efforts Specifically when com pared with chronic offenders novice criminals tend to exhibit far less sophistication in their crimii nal acts and may be more readily deterred by crimeiprevention efforts and the threat of legal sanctions Accurate estimation of the relative prev alence of novice and chronic offenders for particu7 lar types of crimes becomes important for estabi lishing priorities in crimeicontrol activities Offender Versatility Offender versatility is based on characterizae tions of offenders as specialists or generalists Specialists are criminals who focus on the same type ofcrime like pocket picking or use the same general modus operandi method of operation to conduct similar types of offenses like credit card and bogus check frauds Generalists in contrast may have preferences for particular crime targets but exhibit greater flexibility in their choice of offense Contrary to common media portrayals of crime inals as skilled specialists offense specialization seems to be the exception rather than the rule see Chaiken and Chaiken 1982 Typical offenders are Chapter 1 t Introduction to the Study oan39me Types 7 thought to operate within clusters of crimes such as violent or property offenses but exhibit little specialization The importance of the relative fre quency of specialists and generalists is that special ists may be more easily deterred from their chosen crimes by either threat of legal sanction or target hardening activities such as added security alarms to thwart home invasion The versatility of generi alists in contrast enables them to continue crimii nal activity by simply changing their offense behave ior in response to speci c crimeicontrol efforts An example of this process is the home burglar who switches to convenience store robberies when alarms and property identi cation programs make household goods more difficult to steal and sell and later reverts to street mugging when greater security and surveillance equipment is added to convenience stores Similar to the criminal careers of offenders the effectiveness of crimeicontrol practices depends on the relative prevalence of spei cialists and generalists among types of offenses The Level of Crime Planning Another major dimension of a crime typology involves differences between premeditated or planned actions and impulsive or spontaneous ones Unless the offender is an extremely poor strategist planned criminal activities are more likely to be successful than spontaneous acts com mitted with little forethought Spontaneous acts done in the heat of passion are more difficult to deter through the threat of legal sanction because by definition spontaneous action means that offenders are not thinking about the consequences of their behavior In contrast premeditation and planning imply the ability to weigh alternative courses of action If viable legitimate alternatives are provided to these potential offenders the desire to commit specific forms of criminal activity may be abated Again the effectiveness of current crime control efforts depends on the relative frequency of planning and spontaneity in criminal events Offender Motivation Uncovering offenders motives is a major preoci cupation of both criminal lawyers and citizens W hen hearing about a criminal act and its partici7 pants we immediately wonder why it happened Motives for crimes are diverse and difficult to prove but criminologists tend to differentiate between Instrumental motives re ect some future goal or end Money revenge smtus enhancement control and domination are often considered instrumenml goals of crime Expressive motives are aligned with spontaneous and impulsive acts that are done in rage or anger and with little thought of conse7 quences From the perspective of crimeicontrol practices this distinction by offender motivation is impor7 tant Expressive acts for example may not be easily deterred by formal sanctions but social programs designed to enhance selfimonitoring and anger control may yield some reductions in the preva7 lence and likelihood of particular types of crime For instrumentally motivated crimes the task is to identify the relative frequency of each type of motif vation and to develop noncriminal alternatives to achieve the particular goal Depending on the spe7 cific instrumental motivation these noncriminal alternatives may involve activities as diverse as job programs educational enhancements recreational programs and sensitivity training TargetSelection Factors A dominant image of criminals is that they make a series of rational decisions about crime commission and target selection by weighing the relative costs and benefits of alternative courses of action Cornish and Clarke 1986 However crimii nals differ not only according to whether they exhibit rational planning and calculation but also in the importance they place on particular factors in selecting their mrgets Interviews with offenders revealed three general targetiselection factors I convenience and familiarity 2 the level of protec7 tion or guardianship and 3 expected yield and target attractiveness Miethe and Meier 1994 For any given crime and subsequent efforts to control it the importance of each targetiselection factor depends on the offenders criminal careers offense versatility level of crime planning and motivation for offending For example property alarms and guard dogs may deter novice offenders but these protective actions may have no impact on the crime inal choices of professional offenders The Current Approach The inevitable conclusion from our review of singleitrait and multiitrait approaches is that a definitive typology of crimes or criminals is not possible see also Clinard Quinney and Wildeman I994 Meier 1984 Criminologists disagree on the major dimensions of crime the purposes to be served by the classification system and the comprei hensiveness or inclusiveness of the scheme The problem with developing a perfect typology is com 8 Crime Pro les Third Edition pounded by the fact that the very de nitions of crime and criminals are ambiguous social con structs that vary according to the prevailing social economic and political conditions in a society When the behavior under question has competing de nitions and there is enormous variation within each category the pursuit of the de nitive and defensible typology may be an exercise in futility Rather than abandon entirely the typology approach we acknowledge the importance of crime classi cation for simplifying social reality However the usefulness of any crime typology rests ultimately on whether there are uniform behavioral patterns within and between the major categories The prii mary goal of this book is to investigate these similar ities and differences in the offender victim and situi ational elements for major forms of crime Using various sources of data this book exami ines seven general classes of crime I homicide and aggravated assault 2 sexual assault 3 personal and institutional robbery 4 residential and none residential burglary 5 motorivehicle theft 6 occupational and organizational crime and 7 publiciorder crime Within each of these general crime types we identify the most common syni dromes de ned as combinations of offenders vice tims and situational characteristics These syn dromes provide an indication of both the amount and nature of the diversity in behavioral patterns within each crime category Although other crimes such as arson and larceny could be examined the general crime types included here correspond to the legal and behavioral classi cations most commonly presented in criminological textbooks Sources of Crime Data Several data sources are used in this book to describe crime trends over time offender character istics victim attributes and the situational elements of crime events These sources include national and local police data on reported crimes national vice timization surveys and interviews with offenders Uniform Crime Reports and Local Police Data The primary source of information on crime trends over time and the characteristics of offendi ers is the FBI s Uniform Crime Reports UCR Derived from monthly voluntary reports from local law enforcement agencies annual UCR data provide the most comprehensive picture of crimes known to the police covering more than 90 percent of the total national population FBI 2003 These police reports include information on various aspects of crime including 1 the number of par ticular offenses known to the police 2 crime and arrest trends from the early 1930s to the present 3 offenseispeci c arrest rates by age gender race state and city region of the country and size of the community and 4 specific elements of the offense such as the type of weapon used temporal patterns the physical locations of crimes and the amount ofinjury and loss to the victim Supple mental data about the nature of all known homii cide incidents like the victimioffender relation ship motive and victim characteristics are also included in this data source The primary sources of data used to examine the profiles of different crime types include police reportsvictimization data offender interviews and selfreport surveysand court records Although UCR data have no rival in terms of their comprehensive coverage and longitudinal nature these data nonetheless have several welli known limitations that may distort crime trends and characteristics of offenders see Mosher Miethe and Phillips 2002 First the vast majority of crimes that occur in this country are not known to the police Victimization surveys indicate that fewer than half of the violent personal crimes such as rape robbery and assault are reported to the police and only about oneithird of property offenses such as burglary and car theft are reported National Crime Victimization Survey NCVS 2002 Second only about onei fth of the known Index Crimes are cleared by an arrest FBI 2003 If there is some bias in the characteristics of known crimes such as crimes involving intimates being less frequently reported than those involving strangers our conclusions about highicrime areas and highirisk situations based on UCR dam would be inaccurate Similarly if crimes committed by particular social groups are more likely to be known to the police and result in an arrest trends based on UCR data about the social pro le of offenders would be distorted Third UCR data undercount the prevalence of crime because only the most serious offense in a behavioral incident is counted The full adoption of an incidentibased reporting system like the National Incident Based Reporting System NIBRS however will rectify this problem While some researchers conclude
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