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.
This expanded seventh edition of Criminology provides the reader with a clearly expressed and concise analysis of the main sociological and psychological theories of crime and deviance. It is written on the basis that, to facilitate understanding, it is necessary to provide a full account of the historical background and development of these theories. The book also contains an extensive discussion of the perception and nature of crime. It has been completely updated with the significant developments in key areas, such as criminal statistics and the latest research in the scientific study of behaviour. The book is written in a clear and readable style that helps students understand even complex aspects of criminology. In drawing on a wide range of research, the author seeks to ask the right questions, rather than provide definitive answers. The book is thoroughly referenced, providing plenty of opportunity for further reading for those interested in researching the area in more detail.
Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on series provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This chapter focuses on the measurement of crime. The first part discusses the statistics collected by the police, considering the reasons for the reporting and non-reporting of offences; police recording of crimes; and other official effects on crime statistics. The second part considers the ‘dark figure of crime’, i.e. criminal activity in England and Wales that is not covered by criminal statistics. Many criminologists have tried to assess the size of the dark figure. The three methods used are estimates (or guesses), self-report studies, and victim surveys.
This chapter discusses the extensive consideration given to the different roles played by men and women in the commission of crime. Feminist writers first highlighted the fact that most criminologists, in assuming that crime is a male phenomenon, had largely ignored female crime. If it was discussed at all, the focus was on the biological given of sex, rather than the social construction of gender. A number of writers have also started to consider the part that different assumptions of male gender roles—‘masculinities’—play in the commission of crime. Different explanations have been offered for the earlier neglect of women’s crime. One reason may be that official criminal statistics have routinely shown that women are convicted of crimes to a far lesser extent than men.