The Uniform Crime Reporting System

1881 words - 8 pages

According to O’Brien (1985) The Uniform Crime Reporting system (UCR) was developed in the 1920’s in order to create a system that would report crime uniformly across the many different jurisdictions in the United States. For the purpose of this paper I am going to discuss the debate between the relationships of the overrepresentation of minorities in crime statics and if the results are biased based on race. There is a debate regarding the accuracy of the statistics provided by official data resources such as UCR and NIBRS in regards to racial disparities. The fact that racial or social class bias does have an impact on what crimes are reported and the neighborhoods that have the highest police presence does lead inevitably to an overrepresentation of minorities when viewing crime statics as quantitative data points. Official data leads you to believe that a criminal in the United States can be described as being urban, lower class, African American male between the ages of 13 and 20 years old (Feldmeyer, Lecture 1/15/2014). Why is this information important? I believe it leads to bias in the way neighborhoods are policed, the way police stop and search vehicles, the people that police view as being “suspects” and are subjugated to stop and frisk. I also believe that this stereotype plays a part into the sort of people that are reported for being or acting “suspicious”. This can impact that perceived description of the offender when a victim is filling out a police report. All factors help lead to establish some sort of bias that inevitably can lead to disproportionate representation of minorities in UCR statistical data.
Furthermore, another theory in this debate according to Harris and Shaw (2000) is that the UCR is primarily focused on blue collar crimes also known as street level crimes. The majority of police are to be found in and patrol urban neighborhoods located in cities that have a high minority population. The collaboration of the three factors of a high police presence in cities, low income neighborhoods in cities, and high minority populations living in cities leads to the crime rates for minorities being disproportionate. Harris and Shaw (2000) describe this relationship between race and crime as an actual viewing of the relationship between race and occupation/ social class. An individual’s occupation generally leads to the individuals place in society whether the individual will belong to the upper, lower or middle classes are important. Harris and Shaw (2000) stated that the viewing of criminal statics does not show a racial problem but otherwise reflects the United States social structure in which the poor are more susceptible, prone, and willing to commit crime. Harris and Shaw (2000) stated that the poor are also more likely to be caught due to living in areas where there is a higher police presence than upper class or even middle class neighborhoods leading to a disproportionate statistical relationship between crime and...

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