1.There are several different trends that
can be seen in crime and victimization. Discuss one crime trend (either in the
United States, or internationally – but please specify which you are
discussing), or one victimization trend and why it is categorized as a trend.EXAMPLE = In
2015, a report published by CNS News indicated that as gun ownership increases
gun violence decreases (Perry, 2015). The media and other politicians
would have the America people believe otherwise, but the data from the “Centers
for Disease Control” (Perry, 2015, para. 2), indicates that when more people
own guns homicide rates decline quite significantly (Perry, 2015). From
1994 to 2014 homicide rates decreased from 7.0 per 100K population to 3.6 per
100K population (Perry, 2015). In contrast gun ownership per 100k
population was at 0.94 in 1994 and in 2014 it increased to 1.45 (Perry,
is a multi-billion dollar industry – essentially a victim of human trafficking
has lost their freedom (Polaris, n.d.). When reviewing the statistics for
the United States it appears that both the east and west coast have the highest
rate of human trafficking (Polaris, n.d.). Over half of the victims of
human trafficking are women and girls(Polaris, n.d.). The majority
of individual victims are trapped into forced labor(Polaris, n.d.). ReferencesPolaris freedom happens now. (n.d.). Human trafficking. Retrieved from polarisproject.org:
statistics always seem to remain constant. Sometimes they increase like
during warmer weather, but most of the time these are prevalent crimes because
the offender finds easy targets to steal electronic equipment or just opening a
car door and stealing items from inside the vehicle.
Unformatted Attachment Preview
Primary Sources of Crime Data
Official Records: The Uniform Crime Report NIBRS: The Future of the Uniform Crime Report
Survey Research The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) Self-Report Surveys
Evaluating Crime Data
Profiles in Crime
A PROFESSIONAl ThIEF
Contemporary Trends Trends in Victimization What the Future holds
Policies and Issues in Criminology
INTERNATIONAl CRImE TRENDS
Policies and Issues in Criminology
ExPlAININg TRENDS IN CRImE RATES
gender and Crime Race and Crime The Ecology of Crime Use of Firearms Social Class,
Socioeconomic Conditions, and Crime Age and Crime
Chronic Offenders/Criminal Careers
What Causes Chronicity? Implications of the Chronic Offender Concept
Fact or FictiOn?
Who of us can ever forget the events of December 14, 2012, the day a young man named Adam
Lanza walked into the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and, using
high- powered weapons, methodically took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults. Before he went
on his murderous rampage, he shot his own mother in the home they shared. Former classmates
and acquaintances of Lanza described him as an awkward loner who was deeply uncomfortable
in social situations. He was described as someone who lived in their world but was not really part
of it, a youth who would go through crises where he totally withdrew from whatever he was
supposed to be doing and simply stared into space. When people approached Lanza in the
hallways, he would press himself against the wall or walk in a different direction. No one really
seemed to know him well and those who did described him as someone who may have had
serious psychological problems.1
Tragically, Lanza’s violent act is not unique but just one of a spate of recent mass shootings
involving disturbed young men using high-powered weapons. Consider the following:
c On April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, two heavily armed
students, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, went on a shooting
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right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
dd Crime is out of control and is more dangerous now in the United States than at any time in
dd Immigrants who are in the United States illegally commit a lot of crime, a fact that justifies
limiting immigration and closing down the borders.
spree which claimed the lives of 12 students and 1 teacher and wounded 24 others, many
seriously. When police entered the school, the two boys committed suicide.
c On April 16, 2007, 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho methodically took the lives of 32 people—27
students and 5 professors—atVirginiaTech before taking his own life. In the aftermath of the
tragedy, Cho was
described as a loner unable to make social connections. He had been involuntarily
institutionalized in a mental health facility.
c On February 14, 2008, Steven Kazmierczak, a former student at Northern Illinois University,
entered a large auditorium-style lecture hall with a shotgun and three handguns. Standing on the
stage, he began shooting into the crowded classroom, killing 5 and wounding 16 others before
taking his own life.2
c On July 20, 2012, a heavily armed James Holmes walked into the Century movie theater in
Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises, set off tear
gas grenades, and shot into the audience with a 12-gauge Remington 870 Express Tactical
shotgun, a Smith & Wesson M&P15 with a 100-round drum magazine, and a Glock 22 handgun.
When he was done, 12 innocent people were dead and 58 more wounded; Homes had a history
of mental illness.3
When splashed across the media and rehashed on nightly talk shows, cases such as these help
convince most Americans that we live in a violent society. Are Americans justified in their fear
of violent crime? Should they barricade themselves behind armed guards? Are crime rates
actually rising or falling? Where do most crimes occur and who commits them? To answer these
and similar questions, criminologists have devised elaborate methods of crime data collection
and analysis. Without accurate data on the nature and extent of crime, it would not be possible to
formulate theories that explain the onset of crime or to devise social policies that facilitate its
control or elimination. Accurate data collection is also critical in assessing the nature and extent
of crime, tracking changes in the crime rate, and measuring the individual and social factors that
may influence criminality.
In this chapter, we review how data are collected on criminal offenders and of- fenses and what
this information tells us about crime patterns and trends. We also examine the concept of
criminal careers and discover what available crime data can tell us about the onset, continuation,
and termination of criminality. We begin with a discussion of the most important sources of
crime data that criminologists use to mea- sure the nature and extent of crime.
Primary Sources of Crime Data
The primary sources of crime data are surveys and official records. Criminologists use these
techniques to measure the nature and extent of criminal behavior and the per- sonality, attitudes,
and background of criminal offenders. Understanding how such data are collected provides
insight into how professional criminologists approach vari- ous problems and questions in their
Chapter 2 •
The NATUre ANd exTeNT of CrIme
Some crimes escape reporting and are not part of the UCr official data. here, workers try to
repair damage from vandalized property in South Carolina. Windows were broken or painted
over, tires were slashed, and school buses were damaged. Would a crime such as this, that
resulted in significant damage, be reported to the fBI?
Official Records:The Uniform Crime Report
In order to understand more about the nature and extent of crime, criminologists use the records
of government agencies such as police departments, prisons, and courts. The Federal Bureau of
Investigation collects the most important crime record data from local law enforcement agencies
and publishes it yearly in their Uniform Crime Report (UCR). The UCR includes crimes reported
to local law enforcement depart- ments and the number of arrests made by police agencies.4 The
FBI receives and com- piles records from more than 17,000 police departments serving a
majority of the US population. The FBI tallies and annually publishes the number of reported
offenses by city, county, standard metropolitan statistical area, and geographical divisions of the
United States for the most serious crimes. These Part I crimes are murder and non- negligent
manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft,
In addition to recording crimes reported to the police, the UCR also collects data on the number
and characteristics (age, race, and gender) of individuals who have been arrested for committing
a crime. Included in the arrest data are both people who have committed Part I crimes and people
who have been arrested for all other crimes, known collectively as Part II crimes. This latter
group includes such criminal acts as sex crimes, drug trafficking, and vandalism.
COMPILING THE UNIFORM CRIME REPORT The methods used to compile the UCR are
quite complex. Each month, law enforcement agencies report the number of Part I crimes
reported by victims, by officers who discovered the infractions, or by other sources.
Whenever criminal complaints are found through investigation to be unfounded or false, they are
eliminated from the actual count. However, the number of actual of- fenses known is reported to
the FBI whether or not anyone is arrested for the crime, the stolen property is recovered, or
In addition, each month, law enforcement agencies also report how many crimes were cleared.
Crimes are cleared in two ways: (1) when at least one person is arrested, charged, and turned
over to the court for prosecution; or
Uniform Crime Report
Large database, compiled by the FBI, of crimes reported and arrests made each year throughout
the United States.
Part I crimes
The eight most serious offenses included in the UCR: murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary,
arson, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.
murder and nonnegligent
The willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another.
Under common law, the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. In 2012, a
new broader definition of rape was implemented: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the
vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person,
without the consent of the victim.”
The taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person
or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.
An unlawful attack by one person upon another, accompanied by the use of a weapon, for the
purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.
The unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft.
The unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or
constructive possession of another.
motor vehicle theft
The theft of a motor vehicle.
The willful or malicious burning of a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle, aircraft,
personal property of another, or the like.
Part 1 • CoNCePTS of CrIme, LAW, ANd CrImINoLogy
(2) by exceptional means, when some element beyond police control precludes the physical
arrest of an offender (for example, the offender leaves the country). Data on the number of
clearances involving the arrest of only juvenile offenders, data on the value of property stolen
and recovered in connection with Part I offenses, and detailed information pertaining to criminal
homicide are also reported. Na- tionwide slightly less than 50 percent of violent crimes and 20
percent of property crimes are cleared.
Violent crimes are more likely to be solved than property crimes because police devote more
resources to these more serious acts, witnesses (including the victim) are frequently available to
identify offenders, and in many instances the victim and offender were previously acquainted.
The UCR uses three methods to express crime data. First, the number of crimes reported to the
police and arrests made are expressed as raw figures (for example, in 2011, 14,612 murders
occurred). Second, crime rates per 100,000 people are com- puted. That is, when the UCR
indicates that the murder rate was about 4.7 in 2011, it means that fewer than 5 people in every
100,000 were murdered between January 1 and December 31, 2011. This is the equation used:
Number of Repeated Crimes × 100,000 = Rate per 100,000 Total US Population
Third, the FBI computes changes in the number and rate of each crime over time. Murder
declined about 15 percent between 2007 and 2011; the number of rapes declined 12 percent
between 2002 and 2011.
VALIDITy OF THE UCR The UCR’s accuracy has long been suspect. Many serious crimes are
not reported to police and therefore are not counted by the UCR. The rea- sons for not reporting
• Victims may consider the crime trivial or unimportant and therefore choose not to call police.
• Some victims fail to report because they do not trust the police or have little con- fidence in the
ability of the police to solve crime.
• People without property insurance believe it is useless to report theft. • Victims may fear
reprisals from an offender’s friends or family. • Some victims have “dirty hands” and are
involved in illegal activities themselves.
They do not want to get involved with police.
Because of these and other factors, less than half of all criminal incidents are re- ported to the
The way police departments record and report criminal activity also affects the validity of UCR
statistics. Some departments may define crimes loosely—reporting a trespass as a burglary or an
assault on a woman as an attempted rape—whereas others pay strict attention to FBI guidelines.
Some make systematic errors in UCR reporting—for example, counting an arrest only after a
formal booking procedure, even though the UCR requires arrests to be counted if the suspect is
released without a formal charge. These reporting practices may help explain inter-jurisdictional
differ- ences in crime. Differences in the way crimes are defined may also influence report- ing
practices. Because many jurisdictions have broadened their classification of rape to include all
forms of sexual assault, the FBI has followed suit, changing in 2012 the definition used in the
UCR to, “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or
object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
Some critics take issue with the way the FBI records data and counts crimes. According to the
“Hierarchy Rule,” in a multiple-offense incident, only the most serious crime is counted. Thus, if
an armed bank robber commits a robbery, assaults a patron as he flees, steals a car to get away,
and damages property during a police chase, only the robbery is reported because it is the most
Part II crimes
All other crimes, aside from the eight Part I crimes, included in the UCR arrest data. Part II
crimes include drug offenses, sex crimes, and vandalism, among others.
Chapter 2 • The NATUre ANd exTeNT of CrIme
Although these issues are troubling, the UCR continues to be one of the most widely used
sources of criminal statistics. Because data for the UCR are collected in a careful and systematic
way, it is considered a highly reliable indicator of crime patterns and trends. That is, even if
reporting problems inhibit the precise count of total crimes committed in a single year,
measurement of year-to-year change should be accurate because these problems are stable over
time. For example, if the UCR re- ports that the murder rate decreased 4 percent between 2010
and 2011, that assessment is probably accurate because the reporting and count- ing problems
that influenced data collection in 2010 had the same effect in 2011.
NIBRS:The Future of the Uniform Crime Report
Clearly there must be a more reliable source for crime statistics than the UCR as it stands today.
Beginning in 1982, a five-year redesign effort was undertaken to provide more comprehensive
and detailed crime statistics. The effort resulted in the National Incident-Based Reporting System
(NIBRS), a program that collects data on each reported crime incident. Instead of submitting
statements of the kinds of crime that individual cit- izens report to the police and summary
statements of resulting arrests, NIBRS requires local police agencies to provide at least a brief
account of each incident and arrest, including the incident, victim, and offender information.
Under NIBRS, law enforcement authorities provide information to the FBI on each criminal
incident involving 46 specific offenses, includ- ing the 8 Part I crimes, that occur in their
jurisdiction; arrest information on the 46 offenses plus 11 lesser offenses is also provided in
NIBRS. These expanded crime categories include numerous additional crimes, such as
blackmail, embezzlement, drug offenses, and bribery; this makes it pos- sible to develop a
national database on the nature of crime, victims, and criminals. Other collected information
includes statistics gathered by fed- eral law enforcement agencies and data on hate or bias
crimes. To date, the FBI has certified 26 state programs for NIBRS participation. Twelve state
programs are in the various stages of testing NIBRS. Eight other state agencies are in various
stages of planning and development. When this program is fully implemented and adopted across
the nation, it should bring about greater uniformity in cross-jurisdictional re- porting and
improve the accuracy of official crime data.5 Some crimes are quite com- plex, and a more
sophisticated measurement may help to improve understanding and analysis. However, it
remains to be seen whether NIBRS can improve on the validity of the UCR.6
Another important method of collecting crime data is through surveys in which people are asked
about their attitudes, beliefs, values, and characteristics, as well as their experiences with crime
and victimization. Surveys typically involve sampling, the process of selecting for study a
limited number of subjects who are represen- tative of an entire group that has similar
characteristics, called the population. To understand the social forces that produce crime, a
criminologist might interview a sample of 3,000 prison inmates drawn from the population of
more than 2 million inmates in the United States; in this case, the sample represents the entire
population of US inmates. It is assumed that the characteristics of people or events in a carefully
selected sample will be similar to those of the population at large. If the sampling is done
correctly, the responses of the 3,000 inmates should represent those of the en- tire population of
Jerry Sandusky, former assistant football coach at Penn State, convicted of molesting boys, is
being led away to serve a life sentence. A great many victimizations are not reported to police, a
fact that supports the use of the NCVS to track victim trends.
Reporting System (NIBRS)
Program that requires local police agencies to provide a brief account of each incident and arrest
within 22 crime patterns, including incident, victim, and offender information.
Selecting a limited number of people for study as representative of a larger group.
All people who share a particular characteristic, such as all high school students or all police
National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) The ongoing victimization study conducted
jointly by the Justice Department and the U.S. Census Bureau that surveys victims about their
experiences with law violation.
Part 1 • CoNCePTS of CrIme, LAW, ANd CrImINoLogy The National Crime Victimization
Because many victims do not report their experiences to the police, the UCR can- not measure
all the annual criminal activity. To address the nonreporting issue, the federal government
sponsors the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), a comprehensive, nationwide survey
of victimization in the United States conducted annually by the U.S. Census Bureau for the
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).
In the most recent survey, more than 40,000 households and 73,000 individuals age 12 or older
were interviewed twice for the NCVS.7 Households stay in the sample for three years, and new
households are rotated into the sample on an ongoing ba- sis. The NCVS collects information on
crimes suffered by individuals and households, whether or not those crimes were reported to law
enforcement. It estimates the pro- portion of each crime type reported to law enforcement, and it
summarizes the reasons that victims give for reporting or not reporting. In 1993, the survey was
redesigned to provide detailed information on the frequency and nature of the crimes of rape,
sexual assault, personal robbery, aggravated and simple assault, household burglary, theft, and
motor vehicle theft. In 2006, significant changes were also made to the way the NCVS is
collected. The methodologica …
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