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NCJ Number: 50797 Find in a Library
Title: COMMUNITY'S OPINION ON CRIME - SOME PRELIMINARY FINDINGS
Journal: AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY  Volume:14  Issue:1  Dated:(FEBRUARY 1978)  Pages:61-64
Author(s): M O'CONNOR
Corporate Author: Sociological Assoc of Australia and New Zealnd
University of Canterbury
Dept of Sociology
New Zealand
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: Sociological Assoc of Australia and New Zealnd
Christchurch, New Zealand
Type: Statistics
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: HOW MEMBERS OF A SMALL AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY INTERPRET THE CRIME SITUATION IS DESCRIBED AND COMPARED WITH BOTH OFFICIAL AND NEWSPAPER ACCOUNTS OF CRIME BETWEEN APRIL AND NOVEMBER 1976.
Abstract: THE TOWN'S POPULATION WAS SLIGHTLY ABOVE 9,000 IN 1976. DATA WERE COLLECTED BY QUESTIONNAIRE (NOT INCLUDED) AND WERE SUPPLEMENTED BY SELECTIVE, DETAILED DISCUSSIONS WITH MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY. ESTIMATES WERE SOUGHT ON THE AMOUNT OF CRIME COMMITTED AND THE NUMBER OF CONVICTIONS FOR STEALING, VANDALISM, PROSTITUTION, VIOLENT CRIME, FRAUD, AND RAPE. WHILE FIGURES TAKEN FROM OFFICIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT RECORDS INDICATED A REASONABLY FULL COURT SCHEDULE FOR THE STUDY PERIOD, A LARGE PROPORTION OF THE OFFENDERS WERE CHARGED WITH TRAFFIC OR VICTIMLESS CRIMES. HOWEVER, THE VARIETY OF CHARGES WAS CONSIDERABLE, WITH THE FOLLOWING 10 OFFENSE CATEGORIES DOMINATING THE BULK OF THE CRIMES IN QUESTION: TRAFFIC/SPEEDING, DRUNKENNESS, DRINKING-DRIVING, THEFT, DISORDERLY BEHAVIOR, GAMBLING, ASSAULT, HEAVY HAULAGE, WILLFUL DAMAGE, FIREARMS VIOLATION, AND OTHER. A REVIEW OF ACCOUNTS IN TWO LOCAL NEWSPAPERS INDICATED THAT THE OFFICIAL CRIME SITUATION RECEIVED REASONABLE COVERAGE, ALTHOUGH AN ANALYSIS BY CRIME TYPE SHOWED CONSIDERABLE VARIATION. THE NEWSPAPERS DEVOTED THE MOST COVERAGE TO THEFT, DRINKING-DRIVING, GAMBLING, ASSAULT, AND WILLFUL DAMAGE, ALL OF WHICH IN REALITY REPRESENTED THE LEAST PERVASIVE TYPES OF CRIME. ALTHOUGH IT IS CLEAR THAT THE NEWSPAPERS PRESENTED A BIASED PICTURE OF THE ACTUAL CRIME SITUATION, FAVORING THE MORE VIOLENT OR GLAMOROUS CRIMES (ASSAULT AND GAMBLING) OVER THE ORDINARY AND MORE WIDESPREAD PROBLEMS (SUCH AS TRAFFIC OFFENSES), IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER THE COMMUNITY'S PERCEPTION OF THE CRIME SITUATION REFLECTED THE NEWSPAPER ACCOUNTS OR THE OFFICIAL CRIME SITUATION. PUBLIC ESTIMATES OF THE COMMUNITY CRIME RATES WERE HIGHER THAN BOTH THE NEWSPAPER ACCOUNTS AND THE OFFICIAL CRIME STATISTICS. TABULAR DATA AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (KBL)
Index Term(s): Australia; Crime Rate; Crime Statistics; Media coverage; Perception; Surveys
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50797

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