Outline and evaluate two ways of measuring crime. Refer to evidence and/or published examples in your answer. (12 marks)
The official definition of crime is an action which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law. This however is too broad a definition to be applicable to all of society’s actions. To punish for every time a law is broken would not work as it would not take into account the context of the situation; for example it is illegal to die in the House of Parliament but this is an unavoidable situation that cannot be punished for. Therefore, a psychological meaning is instead used to define crime; an act that can cause offense to moral norms or values held by society. This means that what is considered as crime is what society generally considers as wrong; e.g. murder.
The definition of crime is important when trying to measure crime as some levels of crime are not considered as such so are then unreported. This means that any crime statistics will not be completely reliable as not all crimes are reported because either an individual does not consider something a crime because they have the same moral norms as the most of society or that they as an individual have a different view as to what society thinks is right.
One way to measure crime is to take into account the arrest records that have been made by the police. This will show the amount of people who have been arrested within a certain amount of time across the country. It provides an accurate measure of crimes that go against social values. However, it does not take into account those crimes that were unreported and the statistics also include the arrests that were made on innocent people. The Crime and Society Foundation published a report in 2004 that claimed that official statistics regarding crime do not show a valid picture of crime. They suggest that the purpose of official statistics is to provide the government with false figures which they can then use to claim for a decrease...