official statistics

Topics: Sociology, Crime, Social class Pages: 2 (575 words) Published: November 26, 2013

Official statistics are published by the Home Office regarding the number of different types of crimes committed and the backgrounds of those responsible. Official statistics are published annually and are used to compare the difference in crime year by year, from this government policies are revised and adjusted where they see fit. Some sociologists see the statistics as an invaluable source of information whereas others question their accuracy. Positivists and Functionalists have taken official statistics as factual and accurate; they then create their theories regarding criminal behavior and its occurrence from the Home Office’s findings. One example of this is the interests of Positivist’s in young men; official statistics show that a high percentage of crime is committed by young men; positivists try to find some kind of explanation for this. Sub-cultural theorists and Durkheim amongst many other sociologists have used this form of information extensively in their studies. Official statistics have many advantages, rooting at the fact they already exist and are easily accessible and therefore are a quick and cheap source of information, this would be appealing to many sociologists as they would be able to draw up a theory with sufficient evidence however reliable this may be. There is also a consistent flow of information making it easier for sociologists to compare and contrast recent years. Official statistics are a quantitative form of research; all recorded crimes within the UK are included. Interactionalists believe that the statistics presented are socially constructed, and this triggers an interest as to why this happens and have concluded that they do not reflect reality and have found that there are several stages in determining whether an act is categorized as ‘crime’. Cicourel found that young working class people who happened to be arrested are labelled as delinquent by forms of social controls as they were a ‘typical delinquent’, whereas a...
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