Is There a Crime Wave? Essay
You are a criminologist and it’s your task to account for the rise in the crime rate:
Factors to consider are:
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* Increasing Crime
* Increased Reporting of Crime
* Increased Recording of Crime
But which had the most telling effect on augmenting crime rates?
(*Hint: My argument is a tricolon crescens)
The Increase in crime?
Throughout the duration of the twentieth century, the preponderance of crime comprised of violence or sexual assault, and as general crime has risen, violent crime has also boarded this unrelenting fray train. The 5 % proportion of violent crime (which had been reported) has risen slightly to 6 % of all crimes of all crimes. Fortunately the ratio of murders to population has actually fallen in the last 100 years. In the 1800s there were 15 murders per million people. In 1984 the figure stood at eleven murders per million – 25 % lower than in the 1880s.
Though solely violent crimes may paint a hunky dory picture, overall crime has appreciated exponentially, albeit to a rising population, but without considering the following two circumstances it is difficult to deliberate. Obviously there were more crimes but if there were more crimes pre-1900 did people conjure the spirit to report crimes. Did the police try to save face by recording “lesser” crimes.
The Dark Figure ?
To determine the extent of crime and the most common forms of criminal offence, the official crime statistics are looked at. Since such statistics are published regularly, there would seem to be no difficulty in assessing crime rates- but this assumption can be seen as quite erroneous. Statistics about crime and delinquency are probably the least reliable of all officially published figures on social issues.
Many criminologists have emphasised that we cannot take official statistics at face value, they state that they do not record all reported crime. The British crime survey, which is a victim survey, showed that slightly over half of all crimes reported to the police in England and Wales were recorded. This essay shall focus on how useful victimization studies are in uncovering the dark figure of crime, dark figure referring to offences not captured in official statistics.
One reliable survey in 181 suggests that there were three times more thefts than were actually reported to the police and twelve times as much vandalism. So crime is certainly higher than statistics suggest.
However and this may seem like a contradiction but it’s not, the dark figure is actually getting less, i.e. the gap between actual and reported crime is narrowing. So burglaries definitely went up substantially, but it was because an increasing population was more convicted in reporting these crimes.
The Increase in reported crime?
Because of technological developments, the telephone has provided people with the means to quickly contact the police, for example, in house burglaries. This was predominantly for insurance services. In general, more people will report crimes the easier it is.
Also police have been perceived in modern days as warm and perceptive thus many are willing to report violent crimes to sympathetic policemen as they are more likely to be taken seriously.
This too would have had a more of an effect than increasing crime rates, as maybe the dark figure also would suggest.
The Increase in recorded crime?
In the past some crimes reported to the police would not have been recorded. The problem would have been dealt with informally and ‘off the record’. The police now record more crime, more consistently. This is partly because changes in policy and also because computer technology has given them new, more efficient ways of doing so. The easier it is to record crime, the more will be recorded.
A startling example of how changes in recording policy can affect the crime statistics is vandalism. Until 1977, when an incident of vandalism was reported to the police, the officer taking the report had to make his or her own decision whether the damage was major (defined as over ï¿½20 worth of damage), or minor (under ï¿½20). If it was under ï¿½20 it was not recorded in crime statistics. In 1977 this distinction was removed and all reported incidents got into the crime statistics. In a single year, therefore, the official records show that vandalism more than doubled, and added an extra 150,000 to previously unrecorded offences to the criminal statistics.
As I hinted at the start, the extent of these factors was stated as a tricolon crescens. It is unquestionable (in my mind) that crime recording must be most significant to their lack of documentation. With modern technology limitless data can be stored, but back in the 1800s recording every crime would’ve been unviable, therefore I conclude that this was the ambrosia that have fuelled crime rates to modern extents.