Why Might The Figures For Recorded Crime Underestimate The Actual Amount Of Crime That Takes Place?

930 words - 4 pages

Outline definitions of what crime is·Make it clear what I am going to do in my essayMain body of essay·Explain what recorded crime is·Talk in more detail about crime - what it is, how it is recorded and why people may not record all crime·What other factors affect the crime figures and may make them 'unbelievable'.Conclusion·A summary of the main points I have made in my essay, ensuring that I have answered the questionThis assignment will outline what recorded crime is and if it is a true estimation of the level of crime that takes place in the UK. It will then discuss what the reasons may be for over or under reporting of crime.There are two definitions of crime. The first is the legal definition. This states that 'Crimes are acts which break or contravene the letter of the law'. (Mooney et al, 2004, P6)The normative definition of crime is 'Crimes which break or contravene a set of formal or informal norms or codes.' (Mooney et al 2004, p6)In order to report a crime, victims or potential observers need to recognise what they have seen as being a crime. They may not report the 'crime' they have seen committed because they view it as being socially acceptable. This level of social acceptability will differ from person to person. Factors, which will affect person's views, may include their culture or religion. An example of this is polygamy, which is widely accepted as the norm by the Mormon religion (wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy) however in western European countries it is against the law.In the UK when crimes are committed and reported to the police it is then documented. Quantitive evidence shows that since 1930 there has been a large increase in crimes committed. (Maguire 1997, p158, Social trends, 2002. Cited in Mooney et al, 2004, p16))Maguire (1997) suggests that the reason for the significant rise in the crime rate may be because of the change in society. Maguire also states that having more police officers patrolling the area means they are more available to report crime to. Today there are increasing numbers of Police community support officers. The Telegraph newspaper (august 2007) say 'There are around 8,000 PCSOs in England and Wales and the Government wants to double this number by next year.'They do not have the full powers of a sworn constable but can detain suspects for up to half an hour until a police officer arrives.' This means they are a very good accessible resource to report crime too.Crime recording has also been made more accessible by the increased availability of phones, and cars to transport them to the police station.Crime reporting may have also risen due to the...

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