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NCJ Number: 43383 Find in a Library
Title: PERSONALITY AND ATTITUDE MEASUREMENT IN TWO STUDIES OF SELF-REPORTED DELINQUENCY AND VICTIMIZATION
Journal: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY AND PENOLOGY  Volume:5  Issue:3  Dated:(AUGUST 1977)  Pages:275-287
Author(s): E STEPHAN
Corporate Author: Academic Press, Inc
Promotions Manager
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Academic Press, Inc
San Diego, CA 92101-4495
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: OFFICIAL CRIME FIGURES ARE THE RESULT OF A SELECTION PROCESS WHICH INVOLVES REPORTING OF CRIME AND POLICE RECORDING OF CRIME; PSYCHOLOGICAL ATTITUDES AFFECTING THIS PROCESS ARE INVESTIGATED IN TWO STUDIES.
Abstract: THESE TWO STUDIES WERE CONDUCTED IN GERMANY AND CONCERN (1) THE AMOUNT OF DELINQUENCY ACTUALLY REPORTED TO POLICE AS DETERMINED BY A SELF-REPORTING STUDY IN A COMMUNITY OF 20,000 INHABITANTS AND (2) THE TENDENCY OF VICTIMS TO REPORT CRIMES AS DETERMINED BY A SAMPLE OF 1,073 RESIDENTS OF STUTTGART, A TOWN OF 627,000. THE FIRST STUDY SHOWED THAT ONLY ABOUT 5 PERCENT OF CRIMES COME TO THE ATTENTION OF THE EDUCATIONAL COUNSELING OFFICE AND THE YOUTH PROTECTION AGENCY. REPORTS OF CRIMES WERE A BIT HIGHER; 20 PERCENT OF CRIMES HAD BEEN REPORTED FOR MEMBERS OF THE LOWEST SOCIAL CLASS AND 10 PERCENT FOR THOSE IN THE HIGHEST SOCIAL CLASS. PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS SHOWED THAT PERSONS WITH HIGH DELINQUENCY SCORES ALSO HAD A HIGH DEGREE OF SOCIAL MALADJUSTMENT; THIS MALADJUSTMENT WAS EVEN HIGHER AMONG PRISONERS. WHEREAS THE PERCENTAGE OF PERSONS ADMITTING AT LEAST ONE CRIMINAL ACT WAS FAIRLY EVENLY SPREAD ACROSS ALL SOCIAL CLASSES, THE VICTIMIZATION STUDY SHOWED THAT THE PERCENTAGE OF PERSONS REPORTING THEY HAD BEEN VICTIMIZED WAS HIGHEST AMONG UPPER SOCIAL CLASSES. ABOUT 50 PERCENT OF THE SAMPLE HOUSEHOLDS IN STUTTGART HAD BEEN VICTIMIZED BY AT LEAST 1 CRIMINAL ACT IN THE COURSE OF 1 YEAR. WHETHER SUBJECTS FELT THAT CRIME WAS A MAJOR PROBLEM WAS A FUNCTION OF THE WAY THE QUESTION WAS PHRASED. IF CRIME AS A PROBLEM WAS MENTIONED IN THE QUESTION, 1 PERSON IN 3 FELT IT WAS AN ISSUE, COMPARED TO 1 IN 10 WHEN IT WAS NOT MENTIONED. POLICE DATA SHOW THAT VICTIMS OF VIOLENT CRIMES ARE MORE OFTEN MEN THAN WOMEN, AGED 15-20, WITH PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION, AND UNMARRIED. POLICE FIGURES ALSO INDICATE THAT VICTIMS OF PROPERTY OFFENSES ARE MORE FREQUENTLY MEN THAN WOMEN, BELOW AGE 50, MEMBERS OF THE TWO HIGHER SOCIAL CLASSES, AND UNMARRIED. THE VICTIMIZATION STUDY FOUND THAT 100 PERCENT OF MEN UNDER AGE 50 WHO WERE UNMARRIED AND BELONGED TO THE LOWER SOCIAL CLASSES HAD BEEN VICTIMS OF VIOLENT CRIME, WHILE ONLY 70 PERCENT OF UNMARRIED MEN UNDER AGE 50 WHO BELONGED TO THE UPPER CLASSES HAD BEEN VICTIMIZED. IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE DIFFERENCE LIES IN REPORTING. THE STUDY ALSO SHOWED THAT, ALTHOUGH POLICE FREQUENTLY ARE NOTIFIED OF A CRIME, AN OFFICIAL REPORT DOES NOT NECESSARILY RESULT. VIOLENT CRIMES ARE MORE COMMON THAN IS REFLECTED IN POLICE REPORTS. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTOR MOST CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH BECOMING A VICTIM OF CRIME IS AGGRESSION. VICTIMS AND CRIMINALS MOST OFTEN COME FROM THE SAME SUBCULTURE OF VIOLENCE. OTHER CHARACTERISTICS ARE IMPORTANT ONLY IF THEY ARE SEEN AS A CLUSTER. AGE, FAMILY STATUS, AND SOCIAL CLASS APPEAR TO BE THE BEST PREDICTORS OF VICTIMIZATION.
Index Term(s): Crime surveys; Germany; Studies; Unreported crimes; Victimization
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=43383

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