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Chapter 2 Patterns of Crime

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1 Chapter 2 Patterns of Crime

2 History of Crime Statistics
Gathering of crime statistics relatively new phenomenon Inferences based on statistical demographics date back 200 years Thomas Robert Malthus

3 History of Crime Statistics
Andre Michel Guerry ( ) Calculated per capita crime rates in France in early 1800s Adolphe Quetelet ( ) Statistical analysis of crime in Europe Thermic law – crime varies with seasons and climate: High summer and during hot periods. Led to development of statistical school

4 Crime Statistics Today
National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) Conducted by Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Criminal Victimization in the United States Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program Conducted by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Crime in the United States National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) Collected by FBI

5 Programmatic Problems with Available Data
BJS and FBI information differ significantly, not strictly comparable Examine crime problem from different perspectives Procedural and methodological differences Definitions vary between agencies, none based on state or federal statutes

6 The UCR Program Crime Index Term discontinued in 2005
Provided crime rate to be compared over time and across locations Expressed as: X number of offenses per 100,000 people Term discontinued in 2005

7 Part I/Index Crimes Violent Crimes Murder Rape Robbery
Aggravated assault Property Crimes Burglary Larceny Motor vehicle theft Arson

8 Cleared Crimes Cleared/solved crimes: Clearance rate: Arrest made
Perpetrator known but arrest not possible Clearance rate: Proportion of reported/discovered crimes within given offense category that are cleared

9 UCR Problems UCR is a reporting program Dark figure of crime
Only includes crimes known to police Seriously underestimates true nature of crime in the U.S. Dark figure of crime

10 UCR Problems Reasons for failure to report crime (e.g., rape)
Fear of perpetrator Shame Fear of not being believed Fear of further participation in the criminal justice system

11 NIBRS Funded in part by Federal Crime Identification Technology Act of 1998 Still being phased in Most important feature is incident-driven nature Collects detailed data on circumstances surrounding each criminal incident

12 NIBRS Crime definitions revised Reports more detailed than UCR program
46 Group A offenses in 22 crime categories 11 Group B offense categories (collect arrest data only) Reports more detailed than UCR program Include information about offense, parties involved, property (if any)

13 Hate Crimes Hate/bias crimes:
Crimes motivated by religious, ethnic, racial, or sexual orientation prejudice, or by bias against persons with disabilities Collection mandated by Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990

14 Hate Crimes Hate groups
KKK, Aryan Nations, National Alliance, etc. Existed for many years Most hate crimes not committed by hate groups Majority of hate crimes are committed by teens, primarily white males, acting alone or in groups

15 Data Gathering Under the NCVS
NCVS began in 1972 Information obtained through interviews Includes information on unreported crimes More accurate measure of incidence of crime in U.S.

16 Data Gathering Under the NCVS
Data collected by U.S. Census Bureau 42,000 households, 76,000 people Interviews at six-month intervals for three years Anyone 12 years or older included Gathers information on victims and crimes

17 Crimes Included in NCVS
Violent Crimes Rape Personal robbery Aggravated and simple assault Property Crimes Household burglar Personal and household theft Motor vehicle theft Does not include murder, arson, crimes against businesses, or crimes against children under 12

18 Critique of the NCVS Possible overreporting
Definitions of crime do not correspond to federal or state statutes Recent changes in the NCVS make it hard to compare earlier findings with current data

19 Major Crime Shifts Early 1940s – sharp decrease in crime (WWII)
1960s – 1990s – dramatic increase in crime Post-WWII baby-boomers entered crime-prone years Increased reporting and data collection Disruption of 1960s 1991 – 2003 – decrease in crime Baby-boomers aging out of crime Stricter laws, expanded justice system Economic expansion Changing demographics, family planning

20 Next Crime Cycle? May be on verge of new cycle of increased crime
Possible causes Economic uncertainty, increased unemployment Growing teen population More ex-cons back on the street More gang influence Copycat crimes Social disorganization after natural disasters

21 The Crime Problem Do crime rates accurately measure extent of crime problem in US? Official rates suggest crime decreasing Rates only based on small group of crimes Do not include drug offenses Correctional population might give better picture of the crime problem

22 Crime in World Context Violent crime rate in US much higher than in other industrial democracies Elliott Currie argues that the drop in crime is a “falling-off from an extraordinary peak” Levels of violence in US still unreasonably high

23 Criminality index = actual crime rate + latent crime rate
Criminality index – actual extent of the crime problem Latent crime rate – rate of crime calculated on basis of crimes likely to be committed by those incapacitated by the system Criminality index = actual crime rate + latent crime rate

24 Criminal Homicide Homicide versus murder:
Homicide: willful killing of one human being by another Murder : criminal/unlawful homicide, killing without legal justification or excuse

25 Criminal Homicide Types of murder:
First-degree – planned, premeditated Second-degree – crime of passion Third-degree - negligent homicide, involuntary manslaughter Felony murder – killing during the commission of another felony

26 Forcible Rape UCR/NIBRS – three categories Forcible rape
Statutory rape Attempted forcible rape

27 Forcible Rape Other types of rape: Spousal rape Gang rape Date rape
Same-sex rape

28 Forcible Rape Motivation of rapists:
Contemporary thought sees rape as a crime of power Rapists demean victims to feel powerful, important Some scholars returning to emphasis on sexual gratification as cause of rape

29 Robbery UCR/NIBRS definition NCVS definition also includes attempts
The unlawful taking or attempted taking of property that is in the immediate possession of another force or threat of force and/or by putting the victim in fear NCVS definition also includes attempts

30 Robbery Highway/street robbery Strong-arm robbery Armed robbery

31 Assault Aggravated assault: Simple assault:
The unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury Simple assault: Attack without a weapon resulting either in minor injury or in undetermined injury requiring less than two days of hospitalization

32 Burglary UCR/NIBRS definition Categories of burglary
The unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft Use of force not required Categories of burglary Forcible entry Attempted forcible entry Unlawful entry without force

33 Larceny UCR/NIBRS: NCVS – two categories
The unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away by stealth of property, other than a motor vehicle, from the possession or constructive possession of another NCVS – two categories Household larceny Personal larceny

34 Motor Vehicle Theft UCR/NIBRS - theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle Carjacking - stealing an occupied car Usually involves a weapon Victim frequently injured or killed

35 Arson Arson (UCR/NIBRS): Not reported by NCVS
Any willful or malicious burning or attempt to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another Not reported by NCVS

36 Arson Motivations for arson: Thrill-seekers Vandals Pyromaniacs
Arson for vengeance Vanity pyromaniacs Conceal other crimes Defrauding insurance companies – most common motivation

37 Part II Offenses Less serious offenses Many are misdemeanors
UCR only collects arrest data Includes victimless or “social order” crimes

38 Other Sources of Data Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990
Requires colleges/universities to report campus crime statistics Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights Amends 1990 Act Requires schools to develop policies to deal with sexual assault on campus Campus Security Statistics web site Created by 1998 amendment

39 Unreported Crime Dark figure of crime:
Unreported crimes not found in official crime statistics Self-report surveys provide information on this Anonymous respondents Report on crimes they have committed

40 Problems with Self-Report Surveys
Subjects usually young people Questions often focus on petty crimes Typically focus on juvenile delinquency No guarantee of respondent accuracy

41 Social Dimensions of Crime
Aspects of crime and victimization as they relate to socially significant attributes by which groups are defined and according to which individuals are assigned group membership Key social dimensions Gender Ethnicity/race Age Income/wealth Profession Social class/social standing

42 Correlations Connection or association observed to exist between two measurable variables Positive Negative Correlation does not imply causation Spurious correlations

43 Age and Crime Age is negatively related to crime
Desistance phenomenon –most forms of criminality decrease with age Elderly may be involved in crime Less likely to commit street crime Generally commit crimes requiring special skills, knowledge

44 Gender and Crime Gender is called “the best single predictor of criminality” Most crime committed by men Rate of female criminality has changed little over time Women also victimized less frequently than men (except for rape and spousal abuse)

45 Race and Crime Apparent link between crime and race
Race-based disparities in arrests, incarceration Differential treatment by justice system? William Wilbanks – Myth of a Racist Criminal Justice System Race/crime relationship is a source of divisiveness in American society Has led to increased fear of crime among African-Americans

46 Social Class and Crime Prior to 1960, correlation between social class and crime assumed Self-report studies in 1960s found rates of self-reported crime consistent across social classes Class/crime relationship may be result of discretionary practices within justice system Recent research supports class/crime relationship

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