Where do crime figures comefrom? Victim surveys – British Crime Survey Self report studies – Offending, Crime and Justice Survey Official statistics - crimes recorded by the police
Victim Survey Sample of 40,000 homes 16 and over England and Wales Have you been a victim of an offence in the last 12 months? Where they reported to the police? Does not cover all crime - murder, fraud or victimless crimes are not recorded
Self report Studies Question people about their own offending Drug use, anti-social behaviour amongst 10 to 25 age group Sample taken from households in England and Wales Provides information on crime which may not be dealt with by the courts or police
Official police statistics Recorded by the police Published annually by the Home Office – Crime in England and Wales Positives… Statistics collected for a long time – can look for patterns and trends Can compare different parts of the UK Negative….What do you think?
The Dark Figure of Crime….Is all crime reported and recorded?????
What is the “Dark Figure”?
Why are some crimes notreported? Why do you think that some crimes are not reported?
Discovery.. What if the victim is unaware that a crime has taken place? If a thief takes £5 from a wallet containing £45 it may go unnoticed The crime may not be witnessed
Crime or accident…?
Crime or accident…? A victim must define an incident as criminal If this smashed window is seen as accidental damage them is there any chance of it being reported?
Reporting crime… Are crimes that are witnesses or discovered reported to the police? BCS 2007/2008 58% of crimes not reported How will this effect the crime figures?
Crimes that are reported….
Crimes that are reported… 93% of car theft and burglaries Why is this figure so high?
Crimes that are notreported…. Too trivial Victim suffered no loss Fear of insensitivity….rape, serious assault, domestic violence, child abuse Too private….don’t want to involve the police Work place crime ….employers often deal with it themselves rather than involve the police – this may account for the amount of white collar crime such as fraud/theft in the work place being under reported
Police may choose not torecord a crime… Too trivial Doubt the honesty of the person reporting Not enough evidence Sociologists are very cautious when using official statistics They may not show the true figure of crime They believe crime statistics are socially constructed
Social Construction…. The statistics are socially constructed as they are a result of a series of decisions made by individuals The individual…they decide if they are going to report the crime The police make decisions if they are going to report a crime Has the crime been defined as a crime…who’s definition….Society? Police? Individuals?
Homework questions Explain why a victim survey might show the number of crimes actually committed more accurately than police statistics. (5 marks) Discuss how far sociologists would agree that official statistics of crimes recorded by the police provides a complete picture of the extent of crime in Britain. (12 marks)