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Quiz # 2 Definition Samples of self-reports

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1 Quiz # 2 Definition Samples of self-reports


3 Answer Key Arrests for violent crimes comes from UCR The number of persons arrested for homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault as reported by law enforcement agencies to the FBI Crimes recorded by the police comes from UCR The number of homicides, forcible rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults included in the Uniform Crime Reports of the FBI

4 Answer Key Victimizations reported to the police comes from UCR+NCVS The number of homicides – from UCR The number of rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults – from NCVS (victims said whether they reported to the police) Total serious violent crime comes from UCR+NCVS The number of homicides – from UCR The number of rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults – from NCVS whether or not they were reported to the police.

5 Self-reports The basic approach of the self-report method is to ask individuals if they have engaged in delinquent or criminal behavior, and if so, how often they have done so.

6 Self-reports data Created to complement UCR and NCVS
Started in 1950s to tap “hidden delinquency” Ask individuals if they have engaged in delinquent or criminal behavior, and if so, how often they have done so

7 Types of self-reports Longitudinal surveys: Such reports can be obtained from the same group of people over a long period of time Cross-sectional surveys: can be obtained from different groups of people at the same point in time

8 Self-reports Most youths involved in violent crimes are never arrested for a violent crime (Elliott et al., 1989; Loeber et al., 1998; Huizinga et al., 1995) Thus, arrests seriously underestimate the volume of violent crime and fail to distinguish accurately between those who are and are not involved in violence

9 Austin Porterfield (1943) The first published results from a self-report He analyzed the juvenile court records of 2,049 delinquents (Texas) and identified 55 offenses for which they had been adjudicated Surveyed 437 students from three colleges in northern Texas to determine if and how frequently they had committed any of the 55 offenses Every one of the college students had committed at least one of these offenses

10 Austin Porterfield (1943) The offenses committed by the college students were as serious as those committed by the adjudicated delinquents (although not as frequent), yet few of the college students had come into contact with legal authorities

11 Wallerstein and Wylie (1947)
Sampled a group of 1,698 adult men and women and examined self-reports of their delinquent behavior committed before the age of 16 They mailed questionnaires containing 49 offenses to their sample Almost all reported committing at least one delinquent act included on their checklist

12 Potential of self-reports
By including questions about other aspects of adolescent life with a delinquency scale in the same questionnaire, researchers could explore etiological issues of delinquency Theoretically interesting issues concerning the family, peers, and school

13 Samples for self-reports
Adult inmates of jails and prisons Adolescents, usually high school students The results of most self-report studies are shocking- for any population (even a law-abiding one), about 90% of the people in the sample have committed a crime (for which the punishment is more than a year in prison) Middle-class youth commit as much crime as working-class youth

14 Violent offending by race..
Self-reports and arrest rates provide different pictures of violent offending by race Self-reports reveal small differences between African American and white youths Arrest records, on the other hand, reveal large differences ( nine African American youths were arrested for every white youth in 2003)

15 Explanations for this discrepancy
Selective reporting of offenses to the police Different patterns of police surveillance Racial/ethnic biases on the part of police, victims, and witnesses (Austin & Allen, 2000; Sampson & Lauritsen, 1997).

16 Assessment of self-report studies
Focus on minor and trivial offenses (truancy, running away from home, minor drug and alcohol use) Although recent studies (NYS) asked subjects about rape and robbery Respondents might not to tell the truth (reliability issues)

17 If respondents lie…. Self-report data can be checked against police records, school records, interviews with teachers and parents The use of, or threat of, polygraph validation (20% change their initial responses when threatened with a “lie detector”) Subsequent interviewing of subjects permits probing regarding the details and context of acts Use of “lie scales”

18 Example of lie scale I always tell the truth Sometimes I tell lies
Once in a while I get angry I never feel sad Sometimes I do things I am not supposed to do I have never taken anything that did not belong to me

19 Assessment of self-report studies
Several self-report studies included only boys (no female offending data) Overestimation of some crimes Ignore white collar crimes and serious violent crimes

20 UCR, NCVS, and self-reports
None of the three is perfect For the best estimates of the actual number of crimes, NCVS data are preferable For the best estimates of offender characteristics, self-reports and NCVS are preferable UCR are superior for understanding the geographical distribution of crime

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