Crime Is The Low Response Rate Essay

1903 Words Dec 10th, 2014 8 Pages
The first and possibly largest complaint about the UCR is the low response rate. By comparing other data gathering methods to the UCR it is estimated that only 40 percent of crimes are reported to the police (Siegel 32). Another way to look at the above statistic is by stating that only 2 of 5 crimes are reported. This is a significant under representation of the actual amount of crimes that occur. In addition to a low report rate, there is additional errors made by police reports. Even though the definitions of the reported crimes by the FBI are the same for each police department, the department itself can interpret the definitions in different ways. Siegel points out, “Some police departments 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” (Siegel 32). It can be assumed from the above quote that crime data can vary greatly depending on how a department chooses to interpret crimes. While often the variance between interpretations is merely innocent differences in judgement, police departments can intentionally sway statistics in order to be seen more favorably. A police force may choose to change how they categorize certain crimes in order to show their efforts as being more successful. As an example of this, Siegel remarks, “An audit of the Atlanta Police Department, which included confidential interviews with police officers, concluded that the department…

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