The Mismeasure of Crime
After a decade of steady decline, the appearance of conflicting reports regarding crime statistics has led many to call into question the accuracy of ... Show synopsis After a decade of steady decline, the appearance of conflicting reports regarding crime statistics has led many to call into question the accuracy of the current methods used to compile these statistics. Because the measurement of social phenomena involves human decisions, inevitably errors are made. This book aims to identify and examine the nature of these errors so that social scientists, legislators, and the general public will be able to conduct a healthy dialogue on the topic in order to remedy some of the problems. Before the book goes into much contemporary detail, historical measures of crime are given an overview. The authors then follow with chapters on the three most common methods used to report crime. Official data, self report, and victimization studies are analyzed in depth in order to discuss the specific errors that can occur in each type of measurement. The final chapter of the book describes ways that these measures can be applied to specific situations. The end result is the formation of a clearer picture of the impact these measures can have on the formation of crime prevention and control policies.