Outline And Assess The Usefulness Of Official Statistics In Measuring Crime 50 Marks

Topics: Sociology, Crime, Criminology Pages: 2 (1137 words) Published: April 20, 2015
Outline and assess the usefulness of official statistics in measuring crime (50 marks) Crime is behaviour that breaks the law. Crime itself is deviant. Deviance refers to the behaviour that most people see as differing from acceptable social norms or standards of society – as abnormal or immoral. Official statistics is crime reported by the public and recorded by the police (or detected by the police themselves). Records are published every three months. The process involves the witness discovering a crime, reporting the crime, the crime being recorded by the police and then official statistics being collated using this data. A usefulness of official statistics is that it is usually collected in a standardised, systematic and scientific way. An example of this is how they are collected by the law every year. This is useful because they produce quantitative data which increases its reliability as the data can be compared or contrasted with previous and future statistics. It can be argued that official statistics are not useful due to the definitions being mixed up and not clear in two ways. The first one is that the definitions used by the collector of statistics may not be the same as those used by the sociologist. For example, the definition of terms such as ‘crime’ and ‘unemployment’ may mean one thing to the collector and something completely different to the sociologist using the data. This can make the official statistics not as useful as it affects validity as it can lead to inaccuracies in the data. The second way that the definitions make the official statistics less useful is that the basis for the collection of statistics by may change over time. An example of this is research concerned with comparisons of employment/unemployment. Between 1980 and 1990, the British government changed the way it defined unemployment approximately 25 times. This affects the usefulness of official crime statistics as it may mean the data lacks validity. A...
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