Measuring Crime And Deviance

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When measuring crime and deviance sociologists use three different means, those are official statistics, self-report studies and victim surveys. These methods of collecting data have both strong points and weak points, but by combining them a possible general picture of crime and deviance could be drawn. The sociological theories have varying perspectives on the usefulness of generating measurable crime statistics and the validity of each method.

Firstly official statistics are compiled and then published every 6 months by the Home Office, and are drawn from records kept by the police and other official agencies. But due to the fact that official statistics are only compiled from crime that has been reported leading to someone being charged
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A self report study would be a survey which would interview a number of people on their relationship with crime, this would be done through either an opportunity sample or through volunteers and the interview would most likely be structured or semi-structured. The usefulness of a self-report study is that it could reveal what are seen as ‘victimless crimes’ (such as drug use or under age drinking etc.) or crimes that go unreported. This would then be able to compensate for the official statistics lack of these crimes, and then by combining the two give us a broader picture of crime in the UK. Another advantage of a self report study is that we can not only learn what crimes people commit but also we can see what age, ethnicity or social class there in showing us what members of our society are more likely to commit a certain crime. But by using a self-report study demand characteristics and socially desirable answers come into play. Because in contrast to the official statistics which are gathered from data which can be presumed to be true, self report studies rely on face-to-face interviews which gives people the opportunity to lie or to give an answer which they believe the interviewer will find pleasing. But this method does yield results, for example Bilton was able to show that 50 to 90% of the people he interviewed had committed a crime that could have landed them in court. This use of the …show more content…
Victim surveys are able to provide the interviewee without a great deal of confidence as they can remain completely anonymous if they choose, in theory this should eliminate people being too scared or too embarrassed to admit to being a victim of crime. But this is not always the case, some people might find it too hard to admit to even themselves that they’ve been a victim of a crime, especially crimes such as rape or abuse. This altering of the truth is different from that seen sometimes in self-report studies as those lies are usually told to make the interviewee feel better or harder about them self (as nowadays committing crime is seen as ‘cool’ especially among youths). Similarly to official statistics Feminists would argue that lack of women admitting to being victims of sexual or physical abuse is due to the patriarchal society we live in and the male dominance seen throughout

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