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NCJ Number: 66832 Find in a Library
Title: MEASUREMENT PROBLEMS IN OFFICIAL AND SURVEY CRIME RATES (FROM CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESEARCH, 1980, BY SUSETTE M TALARICO - SEE NCJ-66830)
Author(s): W G SKOGAN
Corporate Author: Anderson Publishing Co
Publicity Director
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Anderson Publishing Co
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Type: Survey
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE EXAMINES THE DISCREPANCIES BETWEEN NATIONAL OR CITY-LEVEL SURVEY FIGURES AND OFFICIAL POLICE STATISTICS; IT EXPLORES THE REASONS FOR THE DISCREPANCIES AND THE SOURCES OF ERROR IN BOTH KINDS OF DATA.
Abstract: THE PURPOSE IS TO CLARIFY THE COMPARABILITY AND INTERPRETATION OF SURVEY FIGURES AND OFFICIAL STATISTICS AND GATHERING OFFICIAL STATISTICS THE UNIFORM CRIME REPORTING SYSTEM HAVE IMPROVED RELIABILITY OVER THE YEARS--THAT IS, THE MEASURING PROCESSES ARE NOW SIMILAR--BUT VALIDITY PROBLEMS ARE PREVALENT. BECAUSE (1) THE DATA ARE STILL GATHERED BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES, (2) PARTICIPATION IN THE NETWORK IS VOLUNTARY, AND (3) THE FBI'S ONLY OPTION IN THHE FACE OF FRAUD IS NOT TO PUBLISH THE REPORTED FIGURES, OFFICIAL STATISTICS ARE HIGHLY COLORED BY OFFICERS' DISCRETION OF AND THUS HAVE BEEN WIDELY DEVALUED. CONTINUING DISSATISFACTION WITH OFFICIAL MEASURES HAS LED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATIVE TECHNIQUES SUCH AS THE POPULATION SURVEY, A MEASURING DEVICE WHICH YIELDS DIFFERENT PICTURES OF CRIME. ALTHOUGH SUCH DEVICES HAVE BEEN ASSUMED TO BE MORE ACCURATE THAN OFFICIAL POLICE STATISTICS, GAPS STILL EXIST DUE TO THE SOCIAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL PROCESSES THAT STAND BETWEEN EVENTS OCCURRING IN THE WORLD AND THE SURVEY OR OFFICIAL STATISTICS THAT ARE PRODUCED. POLICE STATISTICS ARE SHAPED BY CITIZENS, WHO MUST INTERPRET AND REPORT EVENTS, BY PATROL OFFICERS, WHO MUST CLASSIFY AND RECORD THEM, AND BY BUREAUCRACIES, WHICH MUST STORE AND RETRIEVE THEM. IN SURVEYS, RESEARCHERS MUST LOCATE VICTIMS, ELICIT THOROUGH RESPONSES TO QUESTIONNAIRES, AND CLASSIFY THEM IN WAYS SIMILAR TO OFFICIAL METHODS. IN THE PROCESS, BOTH MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES SEEM TO UNDERCOUNT CRIMES THAT OCCUR WITHIN FAMILIES OR AMONG ACQUAINTANCES OR THAT ARE DIFFICULT TO IDENTIFY AS DISCRETE EVENTS. HOWEVER, THE EXISTENCE OF ALTERNATIVE TECHNIQUES FOR ASSESSING THE VOLUME AND DISTRIBUTION OF CRIME DOES ENABLE RESEARCHERS TO IDENTIFY AND MORE FULLY UNDERSTAND THE MAGNITUDE OF THESE DIFFICULTIES. A GRAPH, TABULAR DATA, AND A CHART ILLUSTRATE WIDE VARIATIONS IN CRIME STATISTICS. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (WJR)
Index Term(s): Data collections; Data integrity; Evaluation; National crime statistics; National crime surveys; Statistical analysis; Statistical bias; Uniform crime reporting
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66832

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