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The Nature and Extent of Crime

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1 The Nature and Extent of Crime
Chapter Two: The Nature and Extent of Crime

2 Chapter Objectives Be familiar with the various forms of crime data
Know the problems associated with collecting data Be able to discuss the recent trends in the crime rate Be familiar with the factors that influence crime rates Be able to discuss the patterns in the crime rates Be able to discuss the association between social class and crime Recognize that there are age, gender, and racial patterns in crime

3 Primary Sources of Crime Data
Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) Self-Report Surveys National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

4 Uniform Crime Reports (UCR)
A large database compiled by the FBI of crimes reported and arrests made each year throughout the U.S. Collected from local law enforcement agencies and published yearly Accuracy is somewhat suspect as research indicates less than 40 % of all criminal incidents are reported to the police Validity issues: reporting practices, law enforcement practices, methodological issues.

5 National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)
A program begun in 1982 that requires local police agencies to provide a brief account of each incident and arrest, including incident, victim, and offender information Will improve the accuracy of official crime data Expanded crime categories , 46 specific serious offenses and 11 less serious offenses, will include data on hate or bias crimes This should bring greater uniformity and accuracy in reporting crime across the nation

6 Self-Report Surveys A research approach that asks subjects to describe, in detail, their recent and lifetime participation in criminal activity Surveys typically involve sampling, which refers to the process of selecting for study a limited number of subjects who are representative of entire groups sharing similar characteristics, called the population Participants are asked to describe in detail, their recent and lifetime participation in criminal activity.

7 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
To address the non-reporting issue of the UCR, the federal government sponsors this annual comprehensive, nationwide survey of victimization in the United States Validity issues: overreporting due to victims’ misinterpretation, underreporting due to embarrassment, inability to record personal criminal activity of those interviewed, sampling errors Murder not included, for obvious reasons

8 Each source of crime data has strengths and weaknesses
Evaluating Crime Data Each source of crime data has strengths and weaknesses All sources record similar trends regarding personal characteristics of serious offenders, and when and where the crime occurs Sources are reliable indicators of changes and fluctuations in yearly crime rates

9 Crime Rate Trends

10 Secondary Sources of Crime Data
Cohort Research: Longitudinal and Retrospective Experimental Research Observational and Interview Research Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review Data Mining Crime Mapping

11 Trends in Violent Crime
Violent crimes include murder, rape, assault, and robbery Between 1995 and 2005, violence in the U.S. decreased more than 20% Between 2004 and 2005, murder, assault, and robbery increased, though are still much lower than in the past After years of decline there has been a recent ( ) uptick, about 5 percent in the estimated volume of all violent crimes except rape

12 Trends in Property Crime
Property crimes include larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson In 2005, about 10 million property crimes were reported In 2006 they were down almost 3 % from the previous year Between 1995 and 2006, the total number of property crimes declined about 18%, and the property crime rate declined more than 25% Property crime rates have declined in recent years, though the drop has not been as dramatic as that experienced by the violent crime rate.

13 Trends in Victimization Data (NCVS Findings)
Reported victimizations at the last count (2005) experiences about 23 million violent and property victimizations. In 2005 about 16 million households experienced one or more property crimes or had a member who experienced one or more violent crimes. Reported victimizations have declined during the past 30 years Between 1993 and 2005, both the violent crime victimization rate and the property crime victimization rate decreased approximately 50%

14 Explaining Crime Trends
Crime experts have identified a number of social, economic, personal, and demographic factors that influence crime rate trends: Age Immigration Economy-Jobs Abortion Guns Gangs Drug Use Media Medical Technology Justice Policy

15 What the Future Holds Some criminologists believe that crime rates may eventually rise as the number of teens in population increases The aging of the population may offset this trend, large number of senior citizens will produce a lower crime rate Most agree that the age structure of society is one of the most important determinants of crime rates, however the economy, technology change, and social factors help moderate the crime rate

16 Crime Patterns Day, Season, and Climate:
Most reported crimes occur during July and August Crime rates are higher on the first day of the month Temperature, crime rates rise with the temperature Regional Differences: Large urban areas have the highest violence rates Rural areas have the lowest Western and Southern states have higher crime rates than the Midwest and Northeast

17 Social Class, Socioeconomic Conditions, and Crime
Instrumental crimes: unable to obtain desired goods and services through conventional means, criminals may resort to theft and other illegal activities Expressive crimes: such as rape and assault, as a result of their rage, frustration, and anger against society Alcohol and drug abuse help to fuel violent episodes

18 Social Class, Socioeconomic Conditions, and Crime
Official statistics indicate that crime rates are higher in the inner city and high-poverty areas than they are in suburban or wealthier areas An explanation for these findings is related to law enforcement practices, not actual criminal behavior Police may devote more resources to poor areas consequently apprehension rates are higher Police more likely to formally arrest and prosecute lower-class citizens than those in middle and upper classes

19 Age and Crime There is general agreement that age is related to criminality Regardless of economic status, marital status, race, sex, and so on, younger people commit crime more often than their older peers The research indicates this relationship has been stable across time periods, from 1935 to present Young people are arrested at a disproportionate rate to their numbers in the population They account for 6% of the population, however they account for about 25% of serious crime arrests

20 Gender and Crime Male crime rates are much higher than those of females Victims report that their assailants were male in more than 80% of all violent crimes Explaining gender differences: Masculinity hypothesis Chivalry hypothesis Socialization and development Cognitive differences Feminist views

21 Regional Crime Rates

22 Chronic Offenders Data show that most offenders commit a single criminal act, and on arrest, discontinue their criminal involvement A small group of offenders, called chronic offenders or career criminals, is responsible for a majority of all criminal offenses Punishment is inversely related to chronic offending The more stringent the sanction, the more likely a chronic offender is to engage in repeated criminal behavior Early on-set: kids exposed to a variety of personal and social problems at an early age are the most at risk to repeat offending

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