Measuring Crime Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Criminal Justice Type: Essay Paper: #85722559 Related Topics: Recidivism, White Collar Crime, White Collar Crimes, Crime Prevention
Excerpt from Essay :

Measuring Crime

During the latter half of the twentieth century, evidence-based policing became more commonplace, partly as a means to reduce corruption, but also as a means to make crime fighting more effective. Instruments used to measure crime at the federal level include those that fall under the rubric of the Department of Justice, such as Uniform Crime Reporting and National Crime Victimization Service. The FBI also operates legal attache offices, the Combined DNA Index System, and other tools used to measure and empirically track crime (Schmalleger, 2015, p. 147). Likewise, the Department of Justice maintains several major crime reporting programs including the National Incident-Based Reporting System. These reporting programs serve several core functions. They boost the effectiveness of criminal justice policy, they ensure policing and other aspects of criminal justice are evidence-based, and they inform the judicious allocation of resources throughout the criminal justice system. As Schmalleger (2015) points out, there are also instruments used to measure crime at the state and local level, as well as state and local level crime reporting programs. Some local jurisdictions like major metropolitan areas require their own means of data gathering and analysis.

Crime rates refer to the number of reported offences in a specific crime category within the crime rates: offense rates, arrest rates, and clearance rates. For the most part, the UCR crime rates focus on street crimes as opposed to white collar crimes. Offence rates are typically expressed by number of offences in the particular category per every 100,000 people. In areas with fewer than 100,000 people, the number of residents is divided by 100,000, then the number of reported crimes is then divisible by the result of that number.

Arrest rates draw data from individual jurisdictions, within the past twelve months. Just because a crime has been reported does not mean that a suspect was found and arrest made, which is why arrest rates point more to the effectiveness of the police in locating suspects and making arrests. Unfortunately, arrest rates can be artificially increased through aggressive policing in an attempt to make a specific department appear to be doing a good job (Silver, 2014). A range of other factors can artifically influence rates of arrest, including the use of racial profiling (Schmellager, 2015).

Clearance rates take into account the number of times charges have been filed or "cleared" through the system. Thus, both crime rates and arrest rates can be used to determine a composite percentage used to determine the effectiveness of a given policy. Clearance rates can also determine net changes in overall crime rates. Recidivism rates are something different altogether, as this data refers to the number of repeat arrests. However,…

Sources Used in Documents:


"Myth v. Reality: Crime has been Steadily Increasing." [CJi Interactive video].

Schmalleger, F. (2015). Criminal justice today: An introductory text for the 21st century (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Silver, S. (2014). CJ in the U.S.A.: An Introduction to Criminal Justice. San Diego, CA: Curriculum Technology.

Cite this Document:

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