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3 Types Of Crime Measurement

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Criminologist attempt to determine the extent and nature of delinquency using three

types of measurement. Uniform Crime Reports, victimization surveys and self report

studies all have similar purposes of concluding the trends in different crimes and

suggesting the attention of problematic issues. Although, theses types of crime

measurement all have the same aim, results vary tremendously between them. Each

type of measurement is conducted by a different group that hold their own techniques

of gathering information.

In the United States, the Uniform Crime Report has been the most relied upon.

The FBI gathers all their information from police agencies around the world. The

results come from recorded police reports which collect data on about 95% of the

population. The UCR breaks down crimes into part 1 and part 2 offenses. Part 1

offenses include eight crimes being either violent or property offenses. These are the

more serious crimes, while part 2 offenses include all other minor crimes except for

traffic violations.

While the UCR measures the extent of crime through police reports,

victimization surveys view crime through interviewing people about their experiences

as victims. The Bureau of Justice Statistics conducts interviews on a national sample

of households. The results for each household remains in the sample for a few years.

The victimization survey measures only part 1 index crimes and excludes homicide

and arson because the victims are impossible to interview or very difficult to account


The third way of measuring crime is through self report surveys. Anonymous

questionnaires are usually distributed amongst juveniles in places such as a school

setting. The questionnaire relies on the individual's honesty in admitting his/her own

criminal acts. Similar to victims surveys and police reports, self report surveys also

adds its own distinct dimension to our knowledge about crime.

Being each way of measuring crime looks at different aspects, the results can

be both compared and contrasted in many areas. One area in question is the extent of

delinquency and the amount of offenders. Who commits acts of delinquency?

According to the Uniform Crime Report juvenile delinquency is considered an act that

few engage in. Only 6% of people, named chronic offenders by the Wolfgang study,

are said to contribute to half of all crimes. Directly opposing these findings from the

UCR are the results of the self report studies. Self report studies have found that

almost all juveniles have committed some type of act of delinquency. Delinquency is

seen on a continuum with the more delinquent people who frequently commit crimes

that are more serious in nature at the higher end.

Not only do findings differ among the percentage of people who commit

juvenile crimes but they also differ in explaining the most popular juvenile crimes.

Basically all of the 3 types of measurements do conclude that those under the age of 18

commit less violent offenses and more property offenses. However when it comes to

showing the most common violent offense, results differ once again. The UCR finds

robbery to be the most common violent juvenile offense. On the other hand, self

reports find that assaults are the most common.

When it comes to age and gender all 3 reports easily conclude that male

delinquency is much higher than female. While looking at specific crimes certain

conclusions may emphasize higher rates of female delinquency in very few areas. The

UCR shows that even though only 25% of index offenses involve girls, they have a

much higher arrest rate for running away. The victimization survey concludes a

somewhat obvious exception in one area that they are more



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