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Cover Criminology

3. What do crime statistics tell us?  

Tim Hope

This chapter focuses on one of the most popular of crime statistics—the crime rate—which provides an index of crime occurring in a particular jurisdiction for a specific time period. It discusses the nature of crime statistics; counting crime; recording incidents as criminal offences; reporting crime to the police; the frequency of crime victimization; and the rate of crime victimization.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

4. The changing role of data in crime, criminal justice, and criminology  

Ben Matthews and Susan McVie

Data has always been at the heart of criminological endeavours and underpins some of its most important theoretical and conceptual developments. Recent advances in technology, computer science, and data expansion have fundamentally re-shaped society and impacted significantly on various aspects of crime and justice. Such developments have posed challenges for traditional methods of defining and measuring crime, but also opened up novel sources of information such as citizen generated ‘counterdata’. The increasing availability of data has shaped the working practices and policies of criminal justice organizations, which use increasingly sophisticated approaches towards prevention and prediction on the one hand, and surveillance and social control on the other. And while new opportunities for criminology have increased in terms of methodological expansion and theoretical development, potential risks have emerged in terms of replicability, reputation and disciplinary integrity. In this chapter, we take a critical approach to examining the contemporary role of data in shaping crime, criminal justice and criminology, with specific reference to methodological innovations, conceptual debates, ethical controversies, and disciplinary dilemmas.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

7. Crime data and criminal statistics: a critical reflection  

Mike Maguire and Susan McVie

This chapter provides a critical reflection on the nature and measurement of crime levels, patterns, and trends. It covers empirical and methodological questions about how much crime there is and how this changes over time and considers the relationship between what crime data are collected and published and changes in perceptions of and responses to the crime problem as a result of developments in the politics of crime control. The chapter is divided into three sections. The first provides a critical overview of the development of the ‘official’ crime statistics in England and Wales, highlighting some of the key decisions that are made about how to present statistics to the public and how to respond to legal changes, new sources of data, and the emergence of new kinds of criminal behaviour. The second section examines, and explores the reasons behind, a rapid growth in demand for new kinds of information about crime which has been evident since the 1970s. The final section summarizes challenges, dilemmas, and recent debates about the future of national crime statistics, including questions about how to maintain public trust and how to balance competing demands of relevance, comprehensiveness, and robust measurement of trends.

Chapter

Cover Criminology

11. Corporate crime  

Steve Tombs

This chapter examines the emergence of the concept of corporate crime, discussing its meaning and reviewing the extent to which it represents a crime problem. It then considers various dimensions of corporate crime—its visibility, causation, and control—questioning society's will to censure and punish company directors and other ‘rogue’ capitalists.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

5. Crime statistics  

This chapter evaluates the importance of crime statistics in criminological studies. Crime statistics can give an indication of how much ‘crime’ is happening, for example how many robberies or car thefts have been counted in a particular year and area. They also help to identify and assess trends and patterns, such as shifts in types of crimes and perpetrators, increases and decreases in the number of offences and in more serious acts of deviance, like assault or murder. This knowledge enables us to decide on the appropriate responses to crime, and for ‘society’ and its state agencies to implement those responses. The chapter then traces the development of UK crime statistics, looking at the two main sources of UK crime statistics: police recorded crime and the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

Chapter

Cover Criminology

2. The statistics on crime and their meaning  

This chapter discusses crime statistics, which, as with any other form of statistical information, are often referred to by the media as if they provide a true measurement of crime. It is now increasingly accepted that criminal statistics provide a deficient guide to both the level of crime and trends in criminal behaviour. There has been a massive increase in the amount of statistical information promulgated about crime in the past few years. This reflects in part the greater sophistication in statistical techniques, but is mostly a consequence of the growing political interest in the criminal justice system and an accompanying call for greater accountability and openness. However, there are some facts that appear incontrovertible from all measurements of crime in England and Wales.

Chapter

Cover Criminology

6. Poverty, anomie and strain  

This chapter discusses the common and understandable belief that poverty can be a significant factor underlying offending. It considers first the research evidence connecting crime with poverty and unemployment and then takes a wider view of the ways in which the structuring of society can create pressures on individuals to break the law. From the earliest times, people have sought to equate crime with poverty. If this belief is correct, there should be more crime in areas where more poor people live and at times when overall levels of poverty are higher. It was not until the development of national crime statistics in the nineteenth century that any evaluation could be made of this widely held view.

Chapter

Cover Criminology

12. Cybercrime  

Matthew Williams and David Wall

This chapter examines the nature of cybercrime and its implications for criminology. It is organized as follows. The first part traces the evolution of the Internet as an environment for the emergence of cybercrime. The second considers the various conflicting definitional problems of cybercrime and offers a method of resolving them. The third part outlines the problems with measuring cybercrime before providing an indication of the scale of the problem. The fourth part briefly explores how those problems are being resolved. The fifth part looks at the governance and regulation of cybercrime, while the final part provides an overview of the various theoretical explanations.

Chapter

Cover Criminology

22. Victims  

Pamela Davies

This chapter explores the parameters of the study of the crime victim, and the history and scope of the academic subdiscipline within criminology known as victimology. It discusses victimological perspectives; researching victims of crime; and the extent, nature of, and risks to criminal victimization. The final section examines public policy and practice, considering how and why ‘victim’ is a problematic concept in the context of compensation. It problematizes a number of taken-for-granted victimological concepts, such as victimization and crime victim. This section also shows that key concepts, such as victim precipitation, culpability, provocation, and ideal victim connect to particular ways of constructing the crime victim and understanding victimization.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

7. Urban criminal collaborations  

Alistair Fraser and Dick Hobbs

This chapter examines a range of criminological classifications for urban criminal groups, covering both youthful and adult-oriented collaborations. The chapter provides a critical overview of the following categorizations: gangs; subcultures; professional crime; the underworld; and organized crime. Debates relating to each are introduced. While criminological approaches to youthful groups have a clear history, from the ‘Chicago School’ to the ‘Birmingham School’, perspectives on adult groups are less solid and more interdisciplinary. In both cases, the chapter argues that criminological classifications have struggled to capture the complexities brought on by the changing nature of the urban political economy. The chapter concludes by introducing a critical perspective that problematizes criminological categorizations of urban criminal collaborations.

Chapter

Cover Cassese's International Criminal Law

7. Torture and aggression  

Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, Laurel Baig, Mary Fan, Christopher Gosnell, and Alex Whiting

This chapter discusses two classes of international crimes — torture and aggression — that have repeatedly drawn international attention and condemnation but have not been adjudicated as stand-alone crimes. It begins by considering the different reasons for the treatment — in practice, if not always in theory — of these two crimes as outside the ‘core crimes’ involving the most heinous offences: war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. This is followed by discussions of torture as a discrete crime; torture as a war crime and a crime against humanity; the emergence of the notion of the crime of aggression and its falling into lethargy; the elements of the crime of aggression; the need to disentangle criminal liability of individuals from state responsibility; and whether conspiracy to wage aggression is criminalized.

Chapter

Cover International Law

24. International Criminal Law  

Robert Cryer

This chapter examines the material and mental aspects of four offences that are directly criminalized by international law: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression. The discussions also cover some of the general principles of liability and defences that are of particular relevance to international crimes. Firstly, joint criminal enterprise, co-perpetration, command responsibility, and the defence of obedience to superior orders are considered. The chapter then looks at international and national prosecution of international crimes, including the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials, the International Criminal Tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the International Criminal Court. As prosecution is not the only, or predominant, response to international crimes, the chapter concludes with a discussion of alternatives and complements to prosecution, such as amnesties, and truth and reconciliation commissions.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

12. Green criminology  

Angus Nurse

This chapter studies green criminology, a strand of criminology that looks at crimes against the environment, animals, and non-human nature that are largely ignored by mainstream criminology. Green criminology takes a critical approach, looking beyond narrow, human-centred definitions of crime to consider a wider conception which some see as a form of social harm. Green criminologists examine a wide range of environmental issues, from wildlife crime, wildlife trafficking, animal rights, and species justice to corporate environmental crime and illegal pollution, ecological justice and ecocide, food crime, and the links between organised crime and the waste industry. The chapter looks at how environmental issues are sometimes neglected by markets, the criminological concepts and theoretical approaches associated with green criminology, and the debate about whether we should focus on green crimes or harms. It also considers how environmental harms are regulated and the different ways of responding to and policing green crimes.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

26. Crime prevention  

This chapter highlights crime prevention. Preventive strategies represent an approach that is less concerned with dispensing justice than with minimising the risk of crime being committed in the first place. Crime prevention strategies are thus based on a combination of assumptions about human motivations and research evidence about observed patterns of offending behaviour. The chapter then looks at the political and strategic factors that may influence decisions about which crimes to try to prevent. It considers perspectives on crime prevention focusing on potential offenders (in terms of deterrence and diversionary approaches), potential victims, and the idea of community safety and well-being. Finally, the chapter addresses some of the continuing and unresolved questions about the purported achievements and effectiveness of crime prevention strategies.

Book

Cover Criminology

Edited by Chris Hale, Keith Hayward, Azrini Wahidin, and Emma Wincup

Criminology is an ideal textbook for undergraduate students approaching the subject for the first time. It offers a comprehensive overview of key criminological issues from specialists in the field, enabling students to gain a full and rounded understanding of the subject. The book examines a wide range of topics, including historical and contemporary understandings of crime and criminal justice; different forms of crime—from street crime to state crime; who commits crime and who the victims of crime are; and how society and state agencies respond to crime and disorder. The contributions offer clear, accessible introductions to the main topics and issues of criminology. The book includes questions, summaries, further reading guidance, useful web links, and tables and diagrams throughout, which help students to understand the more challenging issues and engage with the key debates. The third edition includes contributions from six new authors from the universities of Kent, Durham, Southampton, Cardiff, and Northumbria. They include a chapter on the emergence, scope, and regulation of cybercrime; and on ‘crime, culture, and everyday life’, an area of growing importance. The book is accompanied by an extensive Online Resource Centre that can be used by lecturers and students alike.

Chapter

Cover International Human Rights Law

26. International Criminal Law  

Robert Cryer

This chapter first discusses the overlaps between human rights and international criminal law, focusing on four international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression. It then considers prosecutions and non-prosecutorial options, concluding with an analysis of the pros and cons of using international criminal law to protect human rights.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

6. Crime and the media  

This chapter focuses on research into various forms of media and their long, complex relationships with crime. In today’s increasingly multi-media world, most people can access crime-related information and stories through a wide variety of media and can publish and distribute their own views and accounts, if they choose. The chapter first outlines some of the ways in which criminologists examine the media and analyse the ways in which it has been used to represent (either directly or indirectly) ‘facts’ and opinions about crime. It then looks at how this can reflect wider and less obvious considerations, such as social concerns and attitudes to different groups, such as young people and migrants, before exploring how crime is depicted in fiction and popular entertainment. Finally, the chapter discusses the effects of media representations of crime, considering the ways in which the media could be seen as criminogenic (causing crime), for example that it can facilitate and provide a platform for crimes, such as cybercrime, and the ways it could be seen to have a positive influence on crime.

Chapter

Cover Criminology Skills

3. Statistics and official publications  

A number of government and other official agencies collect statistics that provide insight into the extent of criminal behaviour, and produce reports that explore issues such as the impact of crime; policy considerations concerning responses to crime; and evaluations of the work of the various agencies involved in the criminal justice system, such as the police, the courts, prisons, and the probation service. This chapter describes the various types of statistics and reports available, explains how they can be used in the study of criminology, and details where they can be found.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

19. Understanding state crime  

Penny Green and Tony Ward

This chapter discusses the concept of state crime and proposes a distinction between ‘core state crimes’ of organized murder, rape, theft, etc., and more ambiguous criminal activity. Focusing mainly on core state crimes, it reviews some of the main approaches to explaining state violence and corruption. It then explores the methods used by social scientists to study state crime. While ethnographic fieldwork is the central method of research, it is complemented by a range of other sources of quantitative and qualitative data. These include, for example, the analysis of social media content and satellite imagery.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

26. Urban criminal collaborations  

Alistair Fraser and Dick Hobbs

This chapter examines a range of criminological classifications for urban criminal groups, covering both youthful and adult-oriented collaborations. The chapter provides a critical overview of the following categorizations: gangs; subcultures; neighbourhood crime groups; professional crime; the underworld; and organized crime. Debates relating to each are introduced. While criminological approaches to youthful groups have a clear history, from the ‘Chicago School’ to the ‘Birmingham School’, perspectives on adult groups are less solid and more interdisciplinary. In both cases, the chapter argues that criminological classifications have struggled to capture the complexities brought on by the changing nature of the urban political economy. The chapter concludes by introducing a critical perspective that problematizes criminological categorizations of urban criminal collaborations.