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NCJ Number: 50956 Find in a Library
Title: COMPARATIVE CRIME VICTIMIZATION SURVEYS - SOME PROBLEMS AND RESULTS
Journal: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY AND PENOLOGY  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:(AUGUST 1978)  Pages:221-231
Author(s): M B CLINARD
Corporate Author: Academic Press Ltd
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Academic Press Ltd
London Nw1,, England
Institute for Scientific Information
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Sale Source: Institute for Scientific Information
University City Science Ctr
3501 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THE USE AND RELIABILITY OF VICTIMIZATION SURVEYS, DEVELOPED TO REPLACE AND VALIDATE OFFICIAL CRIME STATISTICS, ARE EXAMINED AS A MEANS OF COMPARING CRIMINOLOGY IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES.
Abstract: CRIME VICTIMIZATION SURVEYS CONDUCTED IN THE UNITED STATES, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, STUTTGART, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY, SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES, LONDON, ENGLAND, AND ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST, HAVE BEEN USED TO COMPARE CRIME RATES INTERNATIONALLY, A TASK WHICH WAS DIFFICULT AND ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE USING OFFICIAL CRIME STATISTICS. VICTIMIZATION SURVEYS ARE USEFUL, PARTICULARLY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, WHERE CRIME STATISTICS ARE GENERALLY UNRELIABLE. CROSS-CULTURAL STUDIES SHOW THE EXISTENCE OF INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN THE PERCEPTION OF BEHAVIOR AS CRIMINAL OR NONCRIMINAL. CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN PERSPECTIVE ARE A SERIOUS PROBLEM IN VICTIMIZATION SURVEYS, SINCE A LARGE PROPORTION OF 'TRIVIAL' INCIDENTS MAY BE REPORTED IN ONE COUNTRY AND A SMALL PROPORTION IN ANOTHER. STUDIES INDICATE CONSIDERABLE DIFFERENCES IN METHODS OF SAMPLING, CHOICE OF RESPONDENTS, AGE OF VICTIMIZATION, QUESTIONNAIRE CONSTRUCTION, AND THE TRAINING OF INTERVIEWERS. THE TENDENCY IN VICTIMIZATION SURVEYS TO UNDERESTIMATE THE DEGREE TO WHICH VICTIMIZATION IS DUE TO THE RESPONDENT'S INABILITY TO RECALL VICTIMIZATION ACCURATELY AND UNWILLINGNESS TO REPORT IS MENTIONED. IT IS DIFFICULT TO JUDGE THE RELATIVE ACCURACY OF POLICE STATISTICS IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES BY COMPARING THEM WITH THE NUMBER OF CRIMES REPORTED IN A VICTIMIZATION SURVEY. TIME PERIODS OFTEN DO NOT COINCIDE, THE POLICE OFTEN RECLASSIFY A VICTIM'S REPORT OF A CRIME, AND POLICE STATISTICS INCLUDE REPORTS OF NONRESIDENTS OF THE LOCAL AREA. FOR THIS REASON, THE VICTIM'S STATEMENT THAT THE CRIME WAS REPORTED TO THE POLICE IS PROBABLY THE MOST ACCURATE COMPARATIVE MEASURE. DESPITE PRESENT PROBLEMS, CRIME VICTIMIZATION SURVEYS OFFER A MEANS OF COMPARING THE EXTENT AND NATURE OF CRIMES INTERNATIONALLY. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--MGB)
Index Term(s): Crime data files; Crime patterns; Crime Rate; Crime surveys; Germany; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Ivory Coast; Switzerland; United States of America; Victimization surveys
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50956

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