How far do recorded crime rates show how much crime occurs in society?
The recorded crime rates only show part of the crimes actually taking place (Mooney et al., 2004, p.7-9) . There are a number of reasons and limitation that explain that.
Firstly what is crime to us might not be a crime actually in law.
Also it really matters whether we look it from the legal or normative perspective. The legal perspective is the one when we break the laws of the state whereas the normative is about breaking the widely accepted codes of social behaviour or when criminal act is judged against the moral norms like the religious beliefs.
The way we think about crime might vary over time and place. The possession of cannabis for instance wasn’t a crime in the past when it was used in Victorian pharmacies and is not crime now in some parts of Netherlands.
Some previously accepted behavior might become a crime-like fox hunting. And crimes might stop to be crimes. So in other words many legally defined crimes can be legitimate when put in different context.
When we look how much crime is in society we have to note that between an act and conviction there is a long and complex path.
Firstly it depends whether or not an event will be observed and by whom.
Secondly it depends on the individual choice to report it or not.
Further the process from reporting and the police deciding whether a crime has been committed is complex one and depends on the individual preferences of the actors involved for example, see the flowchart in Mooney et al., 2004, p. 8).
... that the future of crime depends on the economy. It also depends on how much crime is reported, and how ... be as many crimes being committed. The American crime rate in my opinion just depends on the economy ... people relate the experience of their crimes. If crimes are ... A lot of problems today in my opinion depend on job security. If more people could ...
To sum up what we count as a crime is a complex social process of social interactions between many individuals, and can change over period of time.
Thus we can see this may be why the recorded crime rates do not show how much crime occurs in society. This is what social scientists describe as the ‘social construction’ of crime (Mooney et al., 2004, p. 8).
In addition there is the other limitation of the recorded crime rates and that is not all crimes are recorded.
To illustrate we are going to compare the recorded figures from the police and data collected from the British Crime Survey (BCS) (Mooney et al., 2004, p. 17).Using different kind of evidence, giving more of the quality and context of a crime, The British Crime survey used interviews with victims to make a more accurate picture .It has been found that the official statistics for recorded crime understate the amount of crime that occurs. The British Crime survey estimated 16,437,000 committed crimes in 1998 against the 4,595,300 recorded by the police (Mooney et al., 2004, p19).
What is more the same victim survey also reveal the reasons for not reporting a crime the most common of which- the crime is considered not to be serious enough and some doubted the police competency to do much about it (Mirrlees-Black et al., 1998, quoted in Mooney et al., 2004, p. 19).
Again we see why the recorded figures do not show us the whole picture about crime. And, while the British Crime Survey shows much more than police recorded crimes like domestic violence it still not give us the whole extend of what amount of crime occurs.
It is useful to note that some crimes might not be increasing but we start to report more of them .For example the high percent of car theft and burglary might be due to the personal benefit to report it for insurance purposes (Mirrlees-Black et al., 1998, quoted in Mooney et al., 2004, p. 19).
... Mead favour the Interactionist approach and suggest that crime is a social process, that crime is an interaction between the victim, the police ... and how we as a society therefore construct it. Crime is a social construct; it is always in society and is on ... Anomie theory. (Robert Merton 1957) Emile Durkheim saw crime and deviance as social factors and believed both of them to be inevitable ...
It must also be considered that some crimes may go unnoticed, like chemical discharge (Mooney et al., 2004, p. 9).
Similarly those committed at work because of their complex and invisible nature compared with conventional crimes might not been recorded and therefore investigated. It is necessary to point out that some of these white-collar crimes are not included in official statistics (tax evasion, computer crime).
This explains the limitation of the recorded crime rates to show what really happens in society.
The way we interpret the recorded crime figures is also important. Above all for evaluating the figures we use the media. And even when the statistics are showing crime falling, people are acting as if it is rising. In fact the reason for that is the constant involvement of the media which sometimes strongly exaggerate the full picture. As a result the way we see the figures is changed, it affects our judgment of how much crime it is.
One surprising piece of evidence that comes from The British Crime Survey and reveals that the people that are least likely to be a victim of violence are the most likely to fear from it. And on the contrast people that feel safe are most likely to be victims.
In conclusion it appears that recorded crime rates do not provide us with the full answer to how much crime occurs in society .Overall the reasons are that what we call crime depends from many and complex interrelated social forces. What we get from the statistics is not a measure of that process but rather a chance to think about it. And although social scientists proved the crime rates only gives us unrealistic picture about crime we can complement recorded crime figures with the results of surveys such as the BCS. Taken together these provide a reasonably accurate picture of rime in the UK?
still need them to make our own judgment.
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Moony, G., Kelly, B., Goldblatt, D. and Hughes, G. (2004) DD100 Introductory Chapter. Tales of Fear and Fascination: The Crime Problem in the Contemporary UK, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
The Open University (2004) DD100 An Introduction to the Social Sciences: Understanding Social Change, Introductory Block Introductory Workbook, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
The Essay on In The Nineties The World Has Been Faced With Many Different Crimes And Social Deviences
... the world and society has been faced with many different crimes and social deviancies, most of which have been as a result ... social problem and can only hurt society. While ... philosophized subject. Nevertheless deviance is a social component and may be both good or bad. Crime on the other hand is a ...
I think that I need more practice in writing, tried to show my understanding, Find the assignment to be a big challenge.