skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 200487 Find in a Library
Title: Measurement Error in County-Level UCR Data
Journal: Journal of Quantitative Criminology  Volume:19  Issue:2  Dated:June 2003  Pages:185-198
Author(s): John R. Lott Jr.; John Whitley
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 14
Publisher: http://www.wkap.nl/journalhome.htm/0748-4518 
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses measurement error in county-level data on right-to-carry gun laws.
Abstract: A paper by Maltz and Targonski in 2002 notes that not all police jurisdictions in a county report their crime data. This produces measurement error in the county-level dataset derived from these reports. Some of the measurement problems apparent in the county-level data will also be present in the State-level data. They argue that measurement error brings existing research on gun laws that used this data into question. But they do not directly test if it affects the results. This study focused on the impact that these data problems have on right-to-carry laws. Gun control work uses regressions weighted by population. The conclusion by Maltz and Targonski that county-level crime data should not be used is not justified. All data has measurement error. Their graphs obscure both the small number of counties affected, that these are rural counties, and that just because some of the population in a county is not represented in calculating the crime rate, that is not the same thing as showing that the reported number is in error. They do not provide evidence for the more important issue of whether there is a systematic bias in the data. The evidence provided in this study indicates right-to-carry laws continue to produce substantial reductions in violent crime rates when States with the greatest measurement error are excluded. Restricting the sample results in somewhat larger reductions in murders and robberies, but smaller reductions in aggravated assaults. Previous research on guns and crime has used different types of Uniform Crime Report data to test whether the results were sensitive to the type of data used. The consistent results indicated that there was not a systematic problem with the county data. 1 table, 5 figures, 14 footnotes, 11 references
Main Term(s): Local government; Uniform crime reporting
Index Term(s): Citizen gun ownership; County police; Crime Statistics; Firearms; Government reactions to crime; Governmental planning; Gun Control
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=200487

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.