Measurement of Crime

2 February 2017

Measuring Crime Trends Felicia Moye Miller-Motte College Most measurement of crime in this country emanates from two major data sources. For almost seven decades, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) has collected information on crimes known to the police and arrests from local and state jurisdictions throughout the country. The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), a general population survey designed to discover the extent, nature, and consequences of criminal victimization, has been conducted annually since the early 1970s.

Other national surveys that focus on specific problems, such as delinquency, violence against women, and child abuse, also provide important data on crime, victims, and offenders. Crimes are divided into twenty-nine types of offenses. Eight of which are major crimes. These crimes include homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson. These crimes are also known as “index offenses”. Information, or data collected on the index offenses, is more complete than the other twenty-one types of crimes.

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They are generally less serious, and would never come to the attention of the police unless an arrest was made. Some important factors used when collecting data are age, race, sex, geographic locations, etc. The Uniform Crime Reports have both positive and negative aspects. The Uniformed Crime Reports are crucial to the determination of the amounts of crimes solved. This is important because it can help determine social tendencies pertaining to crime. These crime tendencies can lead to theories about crimes that are on the rise, or crimes that are declining.

Figures used in this report were submitted voluntarily by law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Individuals using these tabulations are cautioned against drawing conclusions by making direct comparisons between cities. Comparisons lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction.

It is important to remember that crime is a social problem and, therefore, a concern of the entire community. The efforts of law enforcement are limited to factors within its control. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual agencies. Further information on this topic can be obtained in the annual UCR report Figures used in this Report were submitted voluntarily by law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Individuals using these tabulations are cautioned against drawing conclusions by making direct comparisons between cities.

The efforts of law enforcement are limited to factors within its control. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual agencies. Further information on this topic can be obtained in the annual UCR report Crime in the United States, 2010. References: Report issued by Robert S. Mueller III, Director, 2011 http://www. ojp. usdoj. gov/bjs/glance http://www. jblearning. com/criminalJustice/corrections http://www. fbi. gov/stats-services/crimestats

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