Topics: Criminology, Crime, Crime statistics Pages: 5 (2077 words) Published: February 26, 2013
What are the main strengths and weaknesses of official crime statistics and victimization surveys? In this essay I will be discussing the main strengths and weaknesses of official crime statistics and victimization surveys. I have done tremendous research to back up my work, I have also used famous criminologists and other bodies who understand criminalization to help re-enforce my points. Most experts and successful authors, such as Tim Newburn, Brent E. Turvey and Clive Coleman have attempted, through their literature to show how crime has evolved and how surveys have influenced the public’s views about it. The first ever national crime statistics were published in France, 1827. Adolphe Quetelet, a scholar and previous astronomer was the first individual to take a serious approach and interest in criminal statistics. He then went on to become a leading body in criminology and social sciences for his work. Official crime statistics are placed under the ideology of crime rates in the UK and Wales. Numbers that the BCS, police and other law aboding bodies can gather together from the public, their research and other sources to help give the most accurate rate of crime they can. Victimisation surveys are generally random samples of the population asked whether they have been a victim to crime within a specific period of time. The reasons why these two different types of surveys must be taken are so that crime statistics can attempt to be more solid, although the argument is always made that there will never be an accurate percentage of crime and I will also be touching on why this statement has and always will be made. Crime statistics and Victimisation surveys are polls taken and received by victims of crime or the criminals and individuals who commit them. There has been much controversy amongst crime statistics of how accurate and precise they really are. I will be discussing these issues, but overall focusing my main points onto the strengths and weaknesses of official crimes statistics and victimisation surveys. Without crime statistics there would be no base grounds on the numbers of crimes averagely committed, by what sex and by what age group. However, without victimization surveys crimes may stay ‘hidden’ crimes such as domestic violence, burglary and intimidation. Why I mention these three in particular are because statistics show that most common repeat victims of crime are within these types of offences. Other offences also include other household theft and vandalism. One example of a top victimization survey is the British Crime Survey. The British Crime Survey or BCS for short is a nationally represented survey with a successful sample of approximately 47,000 adults living in private households in England and wales every year. The BCS started its survey’s in 1981 and it became a fluent survey database until 2001/2002. This survey is a face to face interview where the respondents or victims are asked about their experiences and feelings of crime that may have happened to them or people they know in the last 12 months, the BCS also ask them about their opinions of crime and crime related topics such as anti-social behaviour. These types of people would also be asked about the effectiveness of the police and how they deal with these issues of crime. The British crime survey is a very important key piece of information and source of data on the background of respondents and the overall circumstances of victimization. A public, accurate crime statistic is most commonly the police, a more community based, less national and less accurate version as it’s range of scope does not cover the nation; however both sources limit themselves to a set of offences. Making it easier to gain a more accurate percentage. One main difference between the BCS and the police is that the BCS excludes victimless crimes, drug dealing and murder. The reason for this is the victims are no longer available to discuss the events that...
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