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Week 3


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  • 1. Chapter 3: Sources of Information about Crime Victims: The UCR and the NCVS Yingyos Leechaianan CRIJ 4380W Week 3
  • 2. Introduction
    • The Big Picture
    • When and where do crimes occur?
    • How often are weapons used?
    • Are victims usually strangers?
    • Do victims resist? Should they?
    • How often are victims injured?
    • What do victims lose?
  • 3. Introduction
    • How do we “put together” the Big Picture?
      • Official statistics gathered by government
      • Criminologists and victimologists gather their own data
      • Special interest groups gather crime data
  • 4. Use and Abuse of Statistics
    • Statistics—meaningful numbers that reveal important information
    • Official statistics—compiled and published by government
      • Statistics—
        • Provide realistic assessments of a threat posed to individuals by criminal activity
        • Reveal patterns of criminal activity
        • Reflect trends in criminal activity
  • 5. Use and Abuse of Statistics
    • Statistics –continued–
      • Reveal costs and losses by criminal activity
      • Project number of possible victims of a particular crime
      • Evaluate effectiveness of recovery efforts and prevention strategies
      • Identify statistical portraits (profiles) of a typical victim
  • 6. Use and Abuse of Statistics
    • Interpretation of Statistics
      • Can be used to influence decision makers
      • Can be used to reduce fears
      • Can be used to support police administration
      • Can be used to show something is not working
  • 7. Caution
    • However, be aware that statistics can be used to present one viewpoint, or be presented with a “spin.”
  • 8.
    • FBI gathers data from local police departments and publishes an annual report of crime statistics called the Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
    • Part One Crimes Reported—8 Crimes
      • Violent Crime Data—(4) Murder, Forcible Rape, Robbery and Aggravated Assault
      • Property Crime Data—(4) Burglary, Larceny/Theft, Motor Vehicle Theft and Arson
    Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
  • 9. Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
    • One method of illustrating the UCR data is the “Crime Clock,” which shows how many seconds or minutes apart a particular crime or criminal event occurs—see Figure 3.1, Page 55
  • 10. Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
      • UCR reflects data for cities, counties and states
      • Reports include:
      • Number of complaints filed with police
      • Proportion of cases solved
      • Characteristics of offenders arrested
  • 11. Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
    • Shortcomings of UCR Report
      • Underreporting a major problem
      • Focus is offenders, not victims (homicide exception)
      • Mixes attempted crimes and completed crimes
      • Robbery includes all targets, does not single out households, banks, stores, etc.
      • Uses ‘hierarchy rule,’ which reports only the most serious crime in a sequence of several criminal incidents
  • 12. National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)
    • Tracks 46 Group A Offenses—Greater Breakdown in data:
      • i.e. simple assault, vandalism, blackmail, fraud, statutory rape, kidnapping
      • Gathers data relating to commission of crime, victim information, value of theft, race/ethnicity
      • Originally scheduled for year 2000 implementation
  • 13. The NCVS
    • Another set of data is collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and is based on surveys with victims. It is called the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and it often paints a different picture than the UCR
  • 14. National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
    • Crime rates determined by public survey randomly selected by U. S. Census Bureau
    • First survey, 1966—President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice
    • The NCVS reports crimes in the form of rates per 1000
  • 15. National Crime Victim Survey (NCVS)
    • Crimes studied:
      • Forcible rape & sexual assault
      • Robbery
      • Aggravated assault & simple assault
      • Theft
      • Household burglaries
      • Motor vehicle thefts
    • Only surveys those 12 years of age or older—Does NOT include crimes against those under 12 years of age
  • 16. Four Reasons NCVS Questioned
    • Bias of Information
    • Credibility of Information
      • Wives reporting abuse, girls reporting date rape, boys reporting robberies on bad drug deals
    • Crimes against children under 12 not probed
    • Over reporting
      • Pollsters, not detectives, to sort out conflicting stories or facts
  • 17. Estimated Victimization Rates
    • Table 3.1, Pages 65-66
    • Crime rates reported by NCVS & UCR for 2006 presented
  • 18. UCR vs. NCVS
    • During 70s and 80s, there appeared to be low correlation between the two official sources of data in regards to victimization rates
    • The two reporting systems again gave conflicting signals at the end of 2001 regarding violent crimes and property crimes
  • 19. UCR vs. NCVS
    • UCR—No data for victims except murder
    • NCVS—No data on crimes of murder, bias/hate crimes, line of duty assaults on police
      • No data on offenses against children under 12
      • No data on business robberies or burglaries
      • No data on arson or victims of arson
      • UCR—computes rates/100,000 population
      • NCVS—computes rates/1,000 age 12 and older or/households (no number)
  • 20. Key Terms Statistics Official Statistics Patterns Trends Profiles Spin Crime Clock Uniform Crime Report National Crime Victimization Survey Correlation Index crimes Hierarchy Rule Self report survey Memory decay Forward telescoping Range (Confidence Interval) Victimization Rates Raw numbers Big Picture Rates