This week we examine the sources of information about victimisation, and debate the issue of bias in criminal justice statistics.
- When is a crime a crime? When it is…
Relies disproportionately on public perceptions and co-operation – as well as accurate memory of events
In England and Wales there are two main sources of information on victimisation:
- Police recorded crime statistics
- Crime Survey for England and Wales (formerly British Crime Survey)
How reliable are the different statistics?
- In 2000, roughly three times as many crimes were estimated by the British Crime Survey as the police recorded statistics
- Reveals the ‘dark figure’ of crime
- Crime Survey for England and Wales is widely regarded as one of the best sources of victimisation data in the world, but only for the crimes it examines
- Police figures pick up some crimes not recorded by crime survey (e.g. ‘victimless’ crimes, commercial crimes, crimes against people not living in private households)
- There are some victims we know very little about (hidden victims, which there is a separate lecture about)
Other sources of information
- National Crime Victimization Survey (US)
- International Crime Victims Survey (Europe)
- We also use
- Commercial victimisation survey
- Offender interviews
- Small scale surveys/projects
Victimisation surveys aren’t able to tell us everything we need to know about victims of crime – it is important to understand other concepts, such as fear of crime and the impact of the victimisation
Being careful with statistics
It can be tricky to interpret statistics. Think about:
- What is being measured?
- Who was asked?
- How were the questions phrased?
- Where are you getting the information from?
- Who commissioned the research?
Be particularly cautious if a number seems unusually large, or small, or if the reporting seems very one sided. Don’t rely on statistics directly from the media – always go to the original source.
[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1HYW70cNc3JVun9O3FQLtkadq1YqkyX_WgVd3b5c1iYw/pub?start=false&loop=false&delayms=3000″ size=”medium”]
You can also access the slides directly here
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