How Far Do Recorded Crime Rates Show How Much Crime Occurs In Society?

1042 words - 5 pages

How far do recorded crime rates show how much crime occurs in society?

The recorded crime rates only show part of the crimes actually taking place (Mooney et al., 2004, p.7-9) . There are a number of reasons and limitation that explain that.
Firstly what is crime to us might not be a crime actually in law.
Also it really matters whether we look it from the legal or normative perspective. The legal perspective is the one when we break the laws of the state whereas the normative is about breaking the widely accepted codes of social behaviour or when criminal act is judged against the moral norms like the religious beliefs.

The way we think about crime might ...view middle of the document...

, 2004, p. 8).

In addition there is the other limitation of the recorded crime rates and that is not all crimes are recorded.
To illustrate we are going to compare the recorded figures from the police and data collected from the British Crime Survey (BCS) (Mooney et al., 2004, p. 17).Using different kind of evidence, giving more of the quality and context of a crime, The British Crime survey used interviews with victims to make a more accurate picture .It has been found that the official statistics for recorded crime understate the amount of crime that occurs. The British Crime survey estimated 16,437,000 committed crimes in 1998 against the 4,595,300 recorded by the police (Mooney et al., 2004, p19).

What is more the same victim survey also reveal the reasons for not reporting a crime the most common of which- the crime is considered not to be serious enough and some doubted the police competency to do much about it (Mirrlees-Black et al., 1998, quoted in Mooney et al., 2004, p. 19).
Again we see why the recorded figures do not show us the whole picture about crime. And, while the British Crime Survey shows much more than police recorded crimes like domestic violence it still not give us the whole extend of what amount of crime occurs.

It is useful to note that some crimes might not be increasing but we start to report more of them .For example the high percent of car theft and burglary might be due to the personal benefit to report it for insurance purposes (Mirrlees-Black et al., 1998, quoted in Mooney et al., 2004, p. 19). It must also be considered that some crimes may go unnoticed, like chemical discharge (Mooney et al., 2004, p. 9). Similarly those committed at work because of their complex and invisible nature compared with conventional crimes might not been recorded and therefore investigated. It is necessary to point out that some of these white-collar crimes are not included in official statistics (tax evasion, computer crime). This explains the limitation...

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