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19 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Several Approaches
1) Direct Observation in natural settings (Ethnographic Research)
2) Experimental Observations
3) Police Reports
4) Victimization Surveys
5) Self-report Surveys
Direct Observation
- Ethnographic Research
- Not necessarily most efficient manner to research crime
- Criminal events occur with relative infrequency
- Criminals spend lot of their time doing same things as non-criminals (Regular lives)
- If done successfully, researchers may learn in-depth info about criminal sub-cultures that aren't usually amenable to investigation
Secret Lives of Criminals
- Criminal behaviour tends to be secretive in nature
- Criminals go out of their way to avoid observation/detection
Experimenting on Humans
- Issues of "Informed Consent" (if you tell me subjects what they're going to do, may result in them refusing/altering behaviour)
- If encouraging subjects to break the law, you may be breaking law yourself
Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
- Official crime rates usually based on UCR

- Many incidents of crime go undetected/unreported and end up not making it in UCR
- Some incidents reported may not show up in UCR because police concluded they're unfounded
General Social Survey (GSS)
- Victimization survey that interviews people by phone (random)
- 2009: sampled 19,500 individuals over 15 across Canada
- Respondents asked about their victimization experiences & their perceptions of crime and criminal justice system

- Instrumental in revealing "dark figure of crime" (69% of all crimes)
- In distinct contrast to UCR (only includes cases where people actually report crime to police, and/or police feel complaint justifies writing up a report)

- Interviews only those respondents with a phone
- Marginalized people with no phone are excluded from survey (may be most victimized)
- Misses crimes committed against business (robberies, shoplifting, credit card fraud)
- Don't sample under 15 (fail to uncover substantial amount of youth victimization)
- Problem of "Telescoping" (respondents may unintentionally include incidents that happened to them more than 1 year prior)
The Dark Figures of Recordings, Act 2, Scene 33 (Reporting Practices)
- Wide variations in reporting practices across the country
- Professionalism & degree of organization of particular police department may be a factor
Ethnicity & Crime
- Canada doesn't collect stats on relationship (if any) b/w race and crime
- To the extent that we have reliable information (usually collected by correctional institutions instead of by police or courts)
Federal Incarceration Rates (per 100,000)
Aboriginals (185); Blacks (146); Whites (42); Asians (16)
The Great Debate (Julian Roberts vs. Thomas Gabor)
RE: Informing public about statistics of ethnic minorities involvement in crime
NO! (Julian Roberts)
- Difficult to classify people in a multi-racial society
- Police officers (ones most likely to make decisions about race of suspect) have no training/expertise in these manners
- Information might result in discrimination against ethnic groups that appear over-represtented in statistics

YES! (Thomas Gabor)
- Why should academics, CJ personnel & political leaders determine what public can/can't know?
- We live in a free society (censorship is unacceptable)
- If some ethnic minorities are more involved in crime, shouldn't the public have right to know?
The Gladue Decision (R. v. Gladue) (1999)
1999 Decision by Supreme Court of Canada

- Section 718.2 (Criminal Code): Mandatory for sentencing judges to take into consideration unique circumstances of Aboriginal offenders
- Supreme Court confirmed this "is remedial in nature and is designed to improve serious problem of overrepresentation of aboriginal peoples in prisons."
- Decision encourages judges to take "restorative approach" when sentencing Aboriginals
- Court acknowledges that "jail term for Aboriginal offender may in some circumstances be less than term imposed on non-Aboriginal offender for same offence".

Why Crimes Go Unreported (Question) Over 2/3 of all crimes are not reported to the police. What do you think the #1 reason given for people not reporting crime?
#1: Didn't think it was important enough (most common)
#2: Didn't think police could do anything about it
#3: Dealt with it in another personal manner
#4: Felt it was personal matter
#5: Didn't want police involved (least common)
Self-Report Surveys
- Usually conduced over the phone (like GSS)
- Asks members of public whether they've ever committed a criminal act
- Again confirms large amount of undetected/unreported crime

- Offenders who have most to hide least likely to participate
- Tend to uncover type of petty crime that many people engage in from time-to-time
- Sometimes get respondents confessing to every crime in the book
Reliability (UCR, GSS, Self-Report Surveys)
Most Reliable (in order): UCR, GSS & Self-Report Surveys
- UCR Data: reflects more balanced picture (judged by police to be serious and well-founded)
- Reports of criminal activity/victimization in Self-Report Surveys or GSS accepted at face value (no collaborating evidence/further investigation; only phone callers word)
Crime Is Common (UCR, GSS, Self-Report Surveys)
- GSS & Self-Report Surveys helpful illustrating vast amount of undetected & unreported crimes
- demonstrates crime is much more common than believed
- Victimization surveys (GSS): provide information for criminal event theory, routine activities theory, lifestyle exposure theory, etc.
Attitudes Towards Police and CJS (GSS)
- GSS provides insight into why people don't report crime to police, and what their general attitudes towards the CJS are
- 2004 GSS: 60% Canadians (police were doing a good job); 40% (courts doing good job ensuring accused individuals got fair trail); 20% (courts doing good job helping victims)
- Prison & Parole System rated much less favourably than police/courts
The Official Crime Rates (inc. Violent Crimes)
- Police-reported crime rate decreased every year from 06-09 (06: 3%; 07: 7%; 08: 5%; 09: 3%; 10: 5%); Since then, crime rate reached lowest point since 1971 (Crime rate continues to decrease)

- Homicide reached 36-year low in '03; yo-yoing since (04: + 12%; 05: +4%; 06: -10%; 07: -3%; 08: +2%; 09: Same; 10: -10%; 11: +7%); going up and down
- Despite + in 04, 05, 08 & 11: homicide rate in '10 lowest since 1966
The Frontier Phenomenon
Violent crimes are lower in the East, start to climb in the middle towards the Coast, and higher up North
Property Crimes
- Rates of property crime down 6% (2010); down over 40% (since 2000) (Rates of property crime declining)
- Rates of break-ins also declining (06: -5%; 07: -9%; 08: -10%; 09: -4%; 10: -6%); lowest level in 40 years
- Almost 50% of all property crime involves theft under $5,000