'the Official Criminal Statistics Are An Accurate Measure Of The Extent And Seriousness Of Crime. Discuss'

2779 words - 11 pages

Official criminal statistics have always been found as unable to become an accurate measure of the extent and seriousness of crime. With all the different hidden types, along with many classifications and perspectives of crime, it is literally impossible to construct a method to collate all this information and publish it annually as statistics. "The mere fact that an incident is reported to the police (even one which, on the surface at least, appears to qualify as a crime) does not ensure that it will be recorded as a crime" (Coleman and Moynihan, 1996:34).Issues such as the history of recorded crime and patterns and associations of crime are important regarding crime statistics. Though brought across to convey the retrospective of the extent and seriousness of crime will be the views and opinions of official crime statistics. How crime is recorded through self-report studies and victim surveys will also be discussed. Also I conducted a case study through interviewing three police officers on official crime statistics; this will be referred to throughout.From square one recorded crime has been notified as to how they are used and collated, "Despite the warnings of criminologists and government statisticians alike, these statistics are still treated by many politicians and journalists as an accurate 'barometer' of crime" (Maguire et al, 2003:334).Official criminal statistics are too concentrated on specific crimes through many means of influence. Media plays a big part in this as newspapers, television, film, literature etc. bring specific crimes into the spotlight concentrating on crimes that the public want stamped out due to the socialisation of their society. Emile Durkheim states you are educated into a society and its norms and values. For example a lot of attention is put towards women being mugged where actually "Men are victims in 64 per cent of muggings" (Maguire et al, 2003:335).Stan Cohen also reinstates this view of how socialisation and media exaggeration creates an 'ideological' misdirection of thought, therefore a erroneous outlook to specific crimes is created. It shows how the society can make police turn their attention towards tackling crimes not as serious or worthwhile just to reassure the 'public eye' and then crime that wouldn't possibly be recorded is and other crimes which could be is inadequately policed. So if a lot of attention put towards youth disorder for example, police will be under pressure through the public and media to show how they tackle the problem therefore more crime will be caught in that area and other types of crimes that would be committed during times of youth disorder (e.g. weekends, and school holidays) would be ignored to a certain degree." Planned operations against a particular type of offence will usually result in a considerable increase in arrests and the uncovering and recording of many new offences..........Conversely, numbers may fall owing to a withdrawal of police interest in a...

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