Deconstructing the Crime Problem
Débora Rodrigues Ferreira Baptista
Forensic Science with Criminology – First Year
As we can see in the figure above, the CSEW (Crime Survey for England and Wales) estimate is much higher than the police recorded crime values. This is due to the fact that most crimes do not come to the attention of the police, usually because people do not report them for various reasons, such as distrust in the police, deliberate desire of hiding the criminal act or shame and fear. Some people just think “someone broke into my house but didn’t take anything; the police has a lot to worry about so I’ll just make sure that I lock every door and window next time”. Others are victims/criminals that suffered a crime and know that reporting it means they are attracting attention to their own criminal acts. Besides this, from the small percentage of crimes that are indeed reported, some of them are not recorded. This is what induces us to the misleading values of the police recorded crime. This is why the CSEW helps to get a wider picture of the real values of crime. Even missing some people from the community and excluding some crimes like murder, the CSEW is able to show us a much more accurate estimate of the number of crimes. Another thing that pops up in the graph is that the counts do not vary always similarly: from 1992 to 1995 the CSEW goes up while the police recorded crime goes down. There is also an explanation for this: the possibility that during this period of time people have lost some trust they had in the police.
The figure above indicates that overall crime has decreased between the year ending March 2012 and the year ending March 2013. Violence against the person has decreased by 4% as so has criminal damage and arson by 15%, vehicle offences by 7% and robbery by 13%. On the other hand theft from the person has increased by 9% and sexual offences increased as well by 1%. Even though this data seems to be very clear, sometimes the reality does not match these counts. Have all crimes (excluding sexual offences and theft from the person) really decreased or people just didn’t bother reporting to the police? Have indeed theft from the person and sexual offences increased or are there more people coming forward to telling about those crimes? It is proven that the increase in the sexual offences was not that those crimes were happening more often but that people were more willing to report them to the police. These types of crime are very sensitive matters; the victim can be ashamed of what happened, afraid of exposure or just be unable to face the reality of the situation. This means that they are less likely to report it to the police. Therefore, the increase in the reported sexual offences is actually a good thing, because it means that people are setting free the inhibitions that bind them to tell what happened, not that the crime rate has gone up. All in all, this kind of data cannot be acknowledge as always truthful and a correct image of reality.
As we can see from the table above, violence against the person offences have been decreasing throughout the years, with the exception of the year 2007 and 2008, when it went up considerably. Homicide has been always decreasing until 2013. Violence with injury increased in 2007/08 and after that started going down until 2013.Violence without injury was decreasing until 2012/2013 when it increased a bit. Finally the number of violent crimes against the person per 1,000 people is 14 until 2011 and then goes to 11, which is a change to take in consider and celebrate. This may be due to the fact that retaliation might have changed and the population started thinking twice before acting. It may also mean that population itself grew socially. I do believe that violence against the person is a crime of passion, you do not need to need money or possessions,...
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