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Crime Statistics Are Unrealiable for Criminologists

  • Date Submitted: 11/07/2012 06:09 AM
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Crime Statistics are unreliable and not useful for criminologists
Throughout criminology there is a great debate about the reliability and usefulness of crime statistics. I will attempt to look at the realist view which states that they provide an accurate reflection of the extent of crime and the constructionist view which sees crime statistics as a clear objective for crime as it is socially constructed.   Social factors such as policing discretion, laws changing and whether or not crimes will be reported have a huge influence on crime statistic. Therefore to understand if crime statistics are reliable and useful for criminologists we need to understand the relation between social factors and how crime is measured and recorded, for example Hale et al (2005) explains that police records have been the main source of recording crimes although the government uses the   victimisation survey to confront the dark figure of crime as they see the potential bias of police records and unrecorded crimes.   The media also has a huge influence on crime statistics as when crime is recorded within the media there is usually a focus on one particular type of crime.   This therefore has a ripple effect on policing which leads to more of a particular type of crime being found and recorded. For example the media may target young people which lead to the statistics for young offenders increasing, but this was only due to the public awareness which lead to pressure being put on the policing which resulted in a higher rate of young offenders crimes being detected and recorded. (Wilson et all 2006)
Hale et al (2005) states ‘crime victimization surveys are large scale, representative sample surveys of private citizens, in which respondents are asked about the crime they have experienced, usually over the previous year including what crimes where not reported to the police.’   Kershaw et al., 2000; Zedner, 1997 states that ‘the introduction of victims surveys in the British Crime Survey has...

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