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NCJ Number: 69355 Find in a Library
Title: WHY ARE CRIMES UNDERREPORTED? WHAT IS THE CRIME RATE? DOES IT REALLY MATTER?
Journal: SOCIAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY  Volume:61  Issue:1  Dated:(JUNE 1980)  Pages:23-43
Author(s): S L MYERS
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 21
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS PAPER EXAMINES THE VICTIM'S DECISION TO REPORT CRIMINAL INCIDENTS, ESTIMATES THE EXTENT OF UNDERREPORTING IN ORDER TO ADJUST REPORTED CRIME DATA, AND USES THE ADJUSTED DATA TO EXAMINE PUNISHMENT AS DETERRENCE.
Abstract: TWO VIEWS REGARDING VICTIMIZATION NONREPORTING THAT HAVE EMERGED ARE THE ECONOMIC OR UTILITARIAN VIEW AND THE INCIDENT-SPECIFIC VIEW. BOTH VIEWS ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE INITIAL FINDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMISSION ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE STANDARDS AND GOALS THAT PEOPLE DO BE DONE, THAT THE EVENT IS PERSONAL, THAT THE INCIDENT IS UNIMPORTANT, OR THAT THE POLICE WOULD NOT WANT TO BE BOTHERED. A MATHEMATICAL MODEL OF VICTIMIZATION REPORTING BEHAVIOR IS SPECIFIED AND ESTIMATED. SIMULATED REPORT PROBABILITIES ARE USED TO CORRECT FOR UNDERREPORTING IN OFFICIAL CRIME STATISTICS. A MODEL OF THE DETERRENT EFFECT OF PUNISHMENT IS THEN REESTIMATED USING THE CORRECTED CRIME RATES. THE CORRECTION FOR UNDERREPORTING IS LIMITED BY DIFFERENCES IN DEFINITION OF CRIMES. FOR EXAMPLE, A REPORT MAY LUMP TOGETHER ALL ROBBERIES, WHILE ANOTHER MAY DISTINGUISH BETWEEN PERSONAL AND COMMERCIAL CRIMES. A WEIGHTING SCHEME WAS DEVISED TO MAKE THESE TWO DATA SETS COMPARABLE; FINAL RESULTS ARE SENSITIVE TO THIS WEIGHTING. ALSO, A METHOD WAS DEVISED TO DISENTANGLE SIMULTANEOUS-EQUATION BIAS FROM UNDERREPORTING BIAS. THE STUDY CONCLUDES THAT UNDERREPORTING DOES NOT REALLY MATTER IN RELATION TO DETERRENCE. EQUATIONS, TABLES, AND APPROXIMATELY 30 REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Citizen crime reporting; Mathematical modeling; Unreported crimes; Vehicle identification numbers; Victimization
Note: PAPER WAS CIRCULATED AS A UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS ECONOMICS WORKING PAPER, WAS REVISED AND CIRCULATED AS A URBAN INSTITUTE WORKING PAPER WHILE THE AUTHOR WAS A VISITING RESEARCH ASSOCIATE AT THE URBAN INSTITUTE AND UNDERWENT FURTHER REVISIONS WHILE THE AUTHOR WAS A VISITING RESEARCH ASSOCIATE AT THE INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH ON POVERTY, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69355

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