ADJ 201-63 Crime statistics (2)

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  1. 1. Crime DataCrime Data Sources Methods Issues
  2. 2. Data on crime can come from any of four sources: Ask the police Ask the courts Ask the victim Ask the offender Each of these has advantages and disadvantages. Detail follows.
  3. 3. The four sources of crime data Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) (Ask the police) NIBRS - Incident- Based Reporting -- Future FBI reporting Offender-Based Transaction Statistics (OBTS) (Ask the courts) National Criminal Victimization Survey (NCVS) (Ask the victim) Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) (Ask the
  4. 4. Uniform Crime Report Prepared by the FBI at the national level and by many state crime commissions (including Ohio's) so as to be compatible with the FBI.
  5. 5. Compiling the UCR Part I Offenses: Eight severe crimes that form the crime rate. Hierarchical order of the list is important; most severe crimes are listed before those deemed less severe.
  6. 6. Homicide Unlawful Murder. The unlawful killing with malice aforethought. Manslaughter. The unlawful killing without malice aforethought. Death by Negligence. Death due to negligence of a person other than the victim; occurs at a time other than during the commission of an unlawful act.
  7. 7. Felony/Murder Doctrine If death occurs during or because of an unlawful act, murder charges will be brought if that act was a felony and manslaughter charges will be brought if that act was a misdemeanor.
  8. 8. Rape/sexual Assault (Excludes Rape-murders) Rape by force. The "carnal knowledge" of a female by force against her will. Excludes statutory rape and other sex offenses. Assault to rape. Assaults and attempts to rape.
  9. 9. Robbery the forcible taking of property from another against that person's will. Robbery is larceny plus assault! (Category excludes robberies in which a rape or a homicide is present.) Armed robbery. Any object is employed to force compliance or threaten it. Strong Arm robbery. No weapon is used, but physical means of violence are present. Includes muggings, etc.
  10. 10. Felony Assault the attempt or threat to do physical injury to another with unlawful force. At the felony level, victim must sufferor be in danger of suffering great bodily harm. (Excludes assaults with intent to rape, rob, or kill.) Gun or other firearm Knife or other cutting instrument Other dangerous weapon Hands, fists, etc.
  11. 11. Burglary The unlawful entry or attempted forcible entry of any structure to commit a felony or larceny. (Excludes any burglary in which a crime against person is also involved.)
  12. 12. Forcible Entry Forcible entry. Includes the use of a master key or concealment inside followed by breaking out (i.e., forcible exit). Unlawful entry (without force) Attempted forcible entry
  13. 13. Larceny The unlawful taking of another's property with the intent to deprive him or her of ownership. (Excludes any larceny involving a crime against person. Also excludes larcenies involving a burglary. Also excludes larcenies of motor vehicles.) NOTE: "Larceny" and "theft" are synonyms!
  14. 14. Motor Vehicle Theft Motor Vehicle Theft - larceny or attempted larceny of an automobile.
  15. 15. Arson Illegal destruction of property via fire Regardless of ownership
  16. 16. Crime Rate Anytime the phrase "crime rate" is used in official publications or in newspaper reports, it refers only to the aggregate of the above UCR Part I Index offenses.
  17. 17. Problems with UCR Victim may not report the offense to police for fear of reprisals from the assailant. Assailant may be a friend or relative of the victim; the victim may decide not to cause trouble. Victim may define the crime as trivial and not worth the time or effort to report it.
  18. 18. Problems with UCR 2 Victim may not want the publicity that could go along with reporting the offense. Victim may define the police as ineffective and thus reporting the offense would do no good.
  19. 19. Problems with police professionalism Reform orientation of a police department affects the crime rate; the fewer crimes you ignore, the higher the crime rate. Side issues may affect the crime rate; the more crimes you ignore, the lower the crime rate.
  20. 20. The Dialectics of Increasing Police Increased professionalism and resources in police leads to an increase simply because more crimes are seen May be politically biased; in order to get a budget increase, police may be operating under arrest quotas in order to ensure that the crime rate goes up.
  21. 21. Problems with the UCRProblems with the UCR structurestructure Hierarchy rule: if more than one offense is committed in a particular incident, only the most serious offense is recorded in the UCR. For example, assault/rape/murder is recorded only as a murder for UCR purposes. The less severe offenses are ignored. Participation by local police and sheriff's offices is totally voluntary. Data are thus not complete. Data may thus also be biased. Many important crimes, and their impact on people are totally ignored by the UCR Part I index.
  22. 22. Part II offenses include the following: Simple assault Forgery and counterfeiting Fraud, Embezzlement Stolen property: buying, receiving, possessing Vandalism, Vagrancy, Disorderly conduct Weapons: carrying, possessing Prostitution and commercialized vice Sex offenses (other than forcible rape and prostitution) Narcotic drug laws Gambling, Liquor laws, Drunkenness
  23. 23. Other None of these offenses in Part II is counted as part of the "crime rate". "Other" is the largest single category on this list (see Table 2.2, p. 55). If the largest category is "other", you haven't defined your categories very well. You don't really know what's in your very largest category.
  24. 24. NIBRS National Incident Based Reporting System Will shift to incident-based reporting; for each incident will collect detail on when it occurred, the kind of weapon used (if any), the type and value of property stolen or damaged, the age, sex, and race of both victim and offender, the relationship between the offender and the victim (if any), whether an arrest was made, etc.
  25. 25. No more "hierarchy rule" If more than one crime was committed in a single incident, all will be reported under the enhanced UCR. If an incident includes a kidnapping, rape, and murder, only the most serious (murder) would be reported on the current UCR NIBRS will list all three offenses in the incident.
  26. 26. OBTSOBTS Offender-Based Transaction Statistics (OBTS) (Ask the courts) Tries to answer the question: "When people get arrested, what happens to them?" Studies the justice system as a flowing process rather than as a static snapshot.
  27. 27. OBTS on the Web National Archives of Criminal Justice Data
  28. 28. Offender-based system Contains one record per offender. (UCR, at least in its current form, contains one record per charged offense.) In theory, gives us the ability to "track" a given offender through the system in multiple encounters. Each offender has an ID. It's encrypted, and the data are therefore confidential--but it should be unique to each offender across offenses.
  29. 29. Back-end statistical reporting Record is generated for an individual when his/her case is disposed and sentenced. This record contains historical info arrest, trial, and sentence. (UCR, in contrast, is front-end. Contains only arrest-centered data because the record is generated at the beginning of the process.)
  30. 30. OBTS vs. UCR OBTS shows fewer felonies than does the UCR. OBTS is likely to be the more accurate. Police fill out the UCR if they think something looks like a felony, they record it as one.
  31. 31. Prosecutors OBTS is filled out be prosecutorsWho know what a felony is and whether they think a conviction is likely if any particular offense is charged as a felony. Coming to be seen as a major analysis tool of the future. Allen Barnes, Statistical Analysis Center, Anchorage: "They even do it in Ohio, of
  32. 32. Problems with OBTS Includes only felony dispositions. No infractions or misdemeanors. Based on internal state law in each state. Since state law is not uniform, different states will treat a particular offense differently. May be a felony in one state and a misdemeanor (or not illegal) in another.
  33. 33. Problems 2 Voluntary as to participation. Only 18 states currently have OBTS systems. And not all of those report within the national guidelines. (California's OBTS system preceded the national guidelines, so CA uses its own for internal consistency.) Voluntary as to treatment of data. Many missing data fields.
  34. 34. ID encrypting ID encrypting is performed differently in different states, so it's not possible to track offenders across state systems. (Pennsylvania encrypts ID's differently for each incident, so you can't even track them within PA. Which shoots down one of the major goals of the system.)
  35. 35. ID encrypting is notnot perfectperfect It's based on the name given to the court. "John Smith" and "John A. Smith" would be encrypted differently even if they're the same person at two different encounters. On the other hand, "John Smith" would be encrypted the same even if they were two different people. Record includes information from arrest to disposition but does not include appeal info. If sentence is later reduced or overturned, OBTS will not show
  36. 36. National Criminal Victimization Survey (NCVS) (Ask the victim) Until 12/91 known as the "National Crime Survey" (NCS) Sample survey. We don't know who all the victims are, but if we take a large enough random sample of all people in the population, we'll end up with a sample of victims.