Outline and assess the usefulness of official statistics in measuring crime Essay

Sociology: Outline and measure the utility of official statistics in mensurating offense. Crime is fundamentally any kind of behavior or an act which breaks Torahs of a society and is punished by the legal system. What is considered condemnable or pervert is culturally determined. This means that what is considered condemnable or aberrant alterations with clip and topographic point. as the values.

norms and outlooks change. What may non be acceptable in one society at a peculiar clip may be acceptable in another state or acceptable at another clip. for illustration drug coffeehouse in Amsterdam.Police Crime Figures have been recorded and published yearly by the Home Office since the twelvemonth 1857. Crime statistics are compiled in the footing of “offences notified to the police” . In this regard. they provide grounds of offenses that are known to the constabulary and officially recorded by the constabulary. Official statistics are utile in mensurating offense because they allow us to descry tendencies and forms in the offense rates and the societal background of criminals/victims ( quantative information ) .

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Besides. these statistics help inform authorities policy. Theories like functionalism have used official statistics to develop theories to explicate forms in the official statistics.

Durkheim used statistics to mensurate suicide rates. a signifier of aberrance between societies and groups and developed theories about self-destruction. Others. like Merton assumed that the statistics were valid and dependable and went on to develop accounts about propertyless criminalism.Many people now turn to victim Surveys such as the British Crime Survey ( BCS ) as more dependable beginnings of information. Victim Surveys are so called because they ask a sample of the population what crimes they have been a victim in the old 12 months. This increases cogency as they include all offenses that people have been a victim of. regardless of whether or non they reported the offense to the constabulary.

A figure of offenses are non covered by the study. These include offenses against concern. offenses where there is no direct victim. such as ownership of drugs. offenses against victims under 16 and offenses that have involved decease.Another beginning of study informations on offense and aberrance is self-report surveies. where people are asked if they have committed any offense.

Self-report surveies are similar to victim studies except that they ask respondents to acknowledge to offenses they have committed. This type of study informations are less widely used than BCS. but are besides anon. and representative of the population.Steven Box. a Marxist. analysed 40 self-report surveies and concluded that juvenile offense was non a working-class job but instead that the middle-class were less likely to acquire caught. I believe respondents may non state the truth because they may experience abashed.

may overstate or they may hold forgotten the offense.To reason. I believe the official statistics are really utile to us as they help to inform us about the rates of offense every bit good as authorities policy. They are yearly published and anyone with internet entree can view/download the information.

These statistics cover a big portion of the population and as they are collected by the province they are seen to hold a great trade of cogency.They can easy be compared to the old statistics and their quantative nature allows tendencies and forms to be established. The ability to travel back and look into the findings means that the informations are dependable.

However. there are some disadvantages of official statistics. It is reported Official Crime Statistics merely demo 30 % of offenses committed.The other 70 % is described as the “Hidden Figure of Crime” . Official offense statistics merely show offense known to the constabulary. In other words. non all offense is reported to the constabulary. This may be because people may be loath to describe a condemnable incident if they do non hold faith in the constabulary to look into and work out the offense.

Another ground may be because they are scared. they could hold been threatened by the felon. Interactionism have a negative position on official statistics. they believe it as being of small deserving.

Cicourel stated that constabulary are more likely to surmise and collar some people than other due to labelling.


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