The Importance Of Official Crime Statistics

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Official crime statistics constitute of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), as well as crimes recorded by the police. Crime statistics are compiled and presented by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The CSEW invites 50000 people, aged 16 and over, to partake in the survey; a separate survey is taken for young people aged 10 to 15. Survey results are used by the government in conjunction with statistics from police recorded crime (CSEW, 2015:online). Although these figures are helpful to an extent, crime statistics fail to provide an accurate portrayal of the level of crime. The objective of this essay is to discuss the method in which statistics are collected, explain why they are an inaccurate representation of crime, and …show more content…
In order to understand why attrition occurs, it is necessary to look at the crime reporting process, as at each stage, crimes are filtered out. Firstly, a crime must be discovered; discovery indicates that the public or police have seen a crime take place. The key issue with this is the discoverer’s perception of crime (JOYCE MAN KINDA). Littering, although a legal offence, could be seen and no issue will be raised. Furthermore, victimless crime (e.g. tax evasion and fraud) is difficult to identify, and is therefore not recorded. Following discovery, a crime must then be reported to the police. However, victims may not be willing to report the offence; the victim may think that the crime does not warrant reporting. Another reason is lack of confidence in the police; the victim may believe the police cannot do anything about the incident. In addition, the victim may fear the consequences of reporting the offence, an example of this may be a sufferer of domestic abuse, scared to come forward (FIND OFFICIAL STATISTICS TO SUPPORT THIS). Moreover, victims lack faith in the criminal justice system, believing that their issue will not be dealt with properly. Joyce (2013) indicates that sexually assaulted woman have been mishandled by the courts. This causes a lack of confidence in the criminal justice …show more content…
First of all, victims may be reluctant to answer certain questions; this could be for a variety of reasons. The victim may be unable to remember a crime, the victim may fear reprisal, or the victim may not wish to disclose the information as they believe the incident was there fault (this is common in domestic abuse incidents) (HALE). Additionally, only one person in a household is surveyed, therefore they may be unaware of another house member being victim of a crime. Furthermore, ‘telescoping’ may take place. Telescoping is the process in which the respondent may believe events have happened recently when they happened a long time ago or vice verca. As surveys are annual, this indicates that offences that may not have been from that year may be included in the results, weakening the reliability of the survey. Hale (2000 and whatever) suggests that education is a factor; he indicates that education improves understanding and memory, therefore those with better education provide more accurate results. Moreover, interview conditions are also important. The interview, the place the interview is taken, the amount of people present, all affect the results. If the interviewer poorly explains the survey, the respondent may give inaccurate answers. The amount of people present could alter their response; the victim may not wish to disclose information to a greater number of

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