Discuss the importance and reliability of crime statistics when researching into crime rates.
Statistics, whether qualitative or quantitative, is critical in any sphere of the society. It paints a picture of trends in the past and present while also providing a platform for giving projection on future trends. Statistics is therefore critical in planning and decision making. At administrative level, statistics is vital in policy making and implementation. Crime statistics need directions from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for them to be published. This statistics have been carefully designed with explanatory notes which are consistent and having issues regarding updates which are generated (from previous compilation), the binary issues and current issues coupled with the classification of crime for research and report presentation in form of statistics.
There a number of recommendations that are made from time to time based on the advice made by the National Statisticians. The body is responsible for crime statistics as well as reviewing and updating the recommendations made. From some primary data based from the statistics trends both in England and Wales, the office for National Statistics have been involved in publishing the trends from time to time. The statistics are mainly based on the crime survey from England and Wales as well as the recorded data from the police. The sources have both their advantages and limitations but together they provide a more comprehensive picture.
As from 2012, the recommendations made were published in 2013 and later implemented in July 2014. These recommendations include such as highlighted below:
- Theft offences introduction that was classified on a new level.
- Introduction of specific identifiable crime, (Victim Based) and other crimes against society.
Description of the Survey
The research statistics conducted for the England and Wales was regarded to as (CSEW). The survey respondents were required to illustrate their attitudes about the issues related to crime such as when the police and system of justice coupled with some anti social behavior. According to References Home office crime statistics (2012), there were extensions of crime reviews and feasibility to include ages 10-15 starting January 2009. These results were published later that year.
The main aim was to pride trends for crimes types and the population age the crime covered. Crimes that are victimless such as drug possession and the people that live in-group residence for instance care-homes and halls of residence are excluded by CSEW. Crimes that are done against commercial and public sector bodies are also excluded with CSEW giving a better reflection and an honest and accurate report of all crimes as opposed to the police reports that depend on reported cases.
The survey also provide better indications of long term trends compared to police recorded crime because it is not affected by the levels changing for the reporting to the police records. Another imitation of the CSEW is that is does not capture the relatively new crimes such as liquid money frauds in its research and survey. This is a big loophole as recently the plastic cards frauds have increased and become quite numerous with advancing technology.
The first research with survey was conducted in 1982, since then, it has been over the years conducted every two years. Starting from 2001, it became a continuous survey. The sampling process is meant to represent the household population of the residents of England and Wales. It is possible to have usage of Postcode Address fie which is widely accepted. The sample used middle layer upper Output Area technique, which missed high and low density areas thus proving that the un-clustered samples are the most reliable compared to clustered ones.
By 2001, CSEW had already conducted some interviews before compiling the results. However, after 2001, the interviews are now conducted as early as 12 months before their compilation. Interviewed are conducted on a rolling basis for a period of a year; the direct comparison between different years is not possible since periods are not directly identified because the respondents are not interviewed at the same time during the month. The recording and data quality of the crime statistics are mainly affected by those changes that happen during recording (User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales, 2015).
Main risks areas include are based on whether crime is actually recorded. The HOCR which usually aims at research and survey consistency is governed by a HOCR lead. It is the responsibility of the unit to ensure standards for the crimes records are maintained depending on whether the crimes are classified correctly. Some types of crimes for instance petty offences should be separated from serious offences like homicides and burglary with weapons. Cancellation of crimes from previous recordings should be properly recorded and the reasons cited there in to avoid cases of repeat cancellation and finally affect the quality and the integrity of the whole process.
The aim of this is to ensure consistency of the process and maintain integrity of the whole process. Many bodies provide quality checks and include governance structures from Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) and recommendations from the National Statistics Body. Before any final changes are made, the bodies ensure they advice the bodies.
Quality checks conducted are highlighted as below:
Monthly variation checks- where the total number of crimes recorded when weighed against the total number of crime numbers recorded against each unique type of an identifiable crime. The major deviations from any trend are identified and appropriate action taken.
Evidence from high numbers for transferred and cancellation of records which act as a flag for any negative homicide offenses.
Checks conducted and weighted done against redundant codes. Usually, there should be no record against any expired codes. Fraud offenses should all be recorded under fraud action criteria. Comparison is done against the police records and against all the CSP areas where crime has been recorded.
Types of offenses:
The following are the crime statistics used to differentiate between the offences.
Violent crimes that include violence with injury and violence without injury: Police recorded crime is important in this case as CSEW would not have actual records of such crimes. For violent crimes without injury, the CSEW would be very helpful in this sector and would be quite instrumental in offering this statistic. CSEW is an important aspect for measuring long-term trends showing the importance of police statistics in providing information on crimes that and so common for instance robberies and homicides (User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales, 2015).
Crime statistics are important in analyzing categories of crimes.
This is well shown under the violence category, which lists types of violence such as detailed below.
- Wounding which results in less severe injuries such as cuts, bruising and scratches, which require or do not require medical attention.
- Assault resulting to minor injury such as punching or
- Violence without injury that does not even require medical attention.
- Domestic violence involving crime committed against partners, lovers and ex-lovers.
Crime statistics have also improved quality of research work over the years. Proper categorization has been enhanced over the years and this has improved the quality of investigations over time. Crime prone areas have attracted more concern and proper mitigation can be done. Analysis can be arranged into the below categories. Homicide is a high degree level of crime which includes; manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and infanticide. This assists investigating departments to handle such high-level degree of crime well and classify it differently. Classification can also be done further into death as a result of driving dangerously. This can be caused by driving while under drugs or incompetent driving such as under age driving.
Assault leading to permanent disability, minor bone fracturing either permanent or temporary, disfigurement either permanent or temporary is also classifiable as a statistic to consider for crime. Crime that causes internal injury can also be classified and labeled in the correct hierarchy where it belongs. The threat to kill cannot be classified with threats to steal as such carry different weights and hence the need to classify them correctly.
Crime statistic records have also enhanced storage of data and records. The Home Office Homicide Index has been continuously updated through the years and this has been quite instrumental for police records in the England and Wales region. Prior to 1977, information has been held in the paper records and this has changed as the technology continues paper less technology has enhanced such storage as this has also led to proper storage and easy retrieval for referencing purposes (Rupp, 2008).
Crime statistic is also important in analyzing financial crimes. The Dedicated Cheque and plastic Crime Unit, which is run by the City of London police, advance this. This includes Advance fee frauds where government officials, money transfers and money make crime transferable for employment. Financial fraud entails fraud by abuse of position, fraud by failure to disclose information, insurance brokerage and insurance related fraud. This statistic has been used to enhance understanding on this subject and by taking necessary steps to mitigate such frauds (User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales, 2015).
Crime statistic has also been enhanced to show the soft crimes in other words called hate crimes. Discrimination against any given gender be it male or female, race be it black or white, religion be it Muslim or Christian, faith, sexual orientation be it male or female or transgender as adopted by the western countries and or disability. This is an example of a crime, which is punishable under law. Hate crime can usually take many forms and includes physical attacks such as murder, damage to property, arson and offensive graffiti. Verbal abuse and or harassments, taunting leaflets, posters, groups hanging around to infringe fear and to intimidate have also been labeled as crimes and ar punishable under law.
Crime statistics have also helped to understand religiously driven crime. The Muslim group, which is an extremist such as the ISIS, Al Shabaab, the Boko Haram, the Al Qaeda led by the deceased Osama Bin Laden, has been quite participative in religious crimes. Terrorist groups have also been shows and well explained. The intentions behind such motives have also been highlighted and the caused, training camps have also been highlighted and such hence is controllable once the root causes are established and properly dealt with (Rupp, 2008).
Crime statistic has helped understand antisocial behavior. Antisocial behavior includes responses from respondents on their perceptions about abandoned cars, burnt out cars, loud parties and noisy neighbors , rowdy individuals, rubbish and little lying around, hanging on the streets by teenagers, graffiti, vandalism and any other deliberate damage to property. The respondents could help in gauging the scale of responses from say 1-3 with once being the very least such as not a problem at all to 3 which is a very big problem.
Crime statistic has helped boost confidence levels in the police and the local council. Reducing crime cases over the years have been quite instrumental as they give morale and a basis for compensation of bonuses to the local council. This has allowed the forces to serve with dedication to the job as they find their efforts can be rewarded and such has a multiplier effect on the confidence level for handling crime in such a region. This also helps in the overall rating of the police forces and the confidence levels the systems have on the security system (Rupp, 2008).
Crime statistic is also important and useful in the overall perception of the police by the locals. The general perception about the police ranging from the kids to the adults. The survey can also show whether police treat everyone fairly with no bias . The police take control and account of all in line with security issues.
Crime statistic has been instrumental in helping design classifications on neighborhoods. They are as explained below:
- Affluent neighborhoods that have fast and lavish lifestyles who have the money the power and the wealth and are extremely rich. This include the rich and people from well to do families who have access to money.
- Rising prosperities who are city sophisticates and also those who are on their path to career climbing.
- The comfortable communities usually comprising of the middle class who live in the suburbs mortgages which are well to do.
- The financially dazzled lot such as the students who have little or meager means.
- Urban diversity that live in the hard conditions.
The A Classification of Residential Neighborhoods (ACORN) developed by the CACI limited came up with this classification. Crime is more prevalent in the urban diversity neighborhoods compared to the affluent achievers who live lavish lifestyles according to CSEW 2015 survey.
Crime statistic is important to assist in detailing crime characteristic. This entails timing when the actual incident occurred, location for occurrence of such incidences, level of the injuries caused or sustained from the crime with the ability to assist medical personnel in identifying the type of medication to give, emotional impacts from such crimes and also the perceived seriousness of such crimes by the respondents to whom such as statistic is derived from. This is helpful in giving g indicators for such crimes as they give a measure as to how the respondents view crime. The cost of stolen property can also be easily ascertained from such criminal records. The nature of crime can also be ascertained and properly classified.
Crime statistics are important for future references from the archives. The authorities can easily retrieve data stored in micro data and the people responsible since they are located in a central place. Before the move was made to the ONS, the primary archive was usually the UK data archive. Users could also download data from the CSEW datasets and from the data archives for prior years before the 2011 period. This is available via the Micro data laboratory (MDL) and the Secure Data Service.
Crime statistic is also important in showing the trends in crime. Prevalence rate includes the proportion of a population who were victims of the offence for one or multiple times. Multiple and repeated victimization where an individual is charged with multiple crimes within a year leading to an increased prevalence rate of crime in such an offence. Sanctioned detections where the offender has been charged and or summoned for an offense, been cautioned or given a final warning regarding an offence, received a penalty for disorder. This statistic can be used to generate trends for particular offences and can be used to generate the trend lines coupled with the expectations of the police regarding such crimes. This also helps the police to prepare them well with the budgeting process to be able to handle such incidences as they unfold
Home Office Crime Statistics. 2012. 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: http://ttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/user-guide-to-ho-crime-statistics [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].
RUPP, T. 2008. Meta analysis of crime and deterrence a comprehensive review of the literature. Norderstedt, Books on Demand GmbH.
User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales. 2015. 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/method-quality/specific/crime-statistics-methodology/user-guide-to-crime-statistics.pdf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&client=firefox-b [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].