Crime Data Comparison
Research data is crucial to the understanding of criminal events. It allows for testing of theoretical ideas, helps us project the measurements of criminal occurrences for strategy purposes, and it provides us with guides of the characteristic of living. Although data concerning criminal actions may derive from outside sources, they tend to be produced by two essential investigative strategies, which are observations and reports. The most widely used reports come from individuals most active in criminal events, which are police, victims, and offenders. “The data collected by the police within the Uniform Crime Reporting system describes a wide range of crimes and provides a continuous national record” (Schmallager, 2012).
Police crime data are collected and processed as part of what is known as the Uniform Crime Reporting system (UCR). Since 1930, the UCR has primarily provided annual reports of the nature and amount of seven index offenses, which are homicide, assault, robbery, rape, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. In 1979, arson was added to the list of index offenses, by congressional mandate. These offenses were selected for study because of; their seriousness, pervasiveness, frequency, and their likelihood of being reported to the police. According to Schmallager (2012), “The UCR is basically a survey in which individual police departments across the country report crime information, in a standardized way, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).” The FBI then collates the information provided by each participating agency and publishes the data in Crime in the United States each year. Information about crimes is reported in an aggregate form in the UCR, with data available on a national, state, city, county, and even college campus level. The UCR currently provides no un-aggregated reports of single crime accidents.
In most cases we are interested in crime rate measures because we interpret them as measures of...