Crime Measurement Research Paper Example
Type of paper: Research Paper
Topic: Crime, Social Issues, Sexual Abuse, Victimology, Information, Police, Criminal Justice, Law
1. NCVS and the UCR
The Uniform Crime Report (UCR hereafter) and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS hereafter) are two ways with which crime in the country is measured. The main similarities between the two methods of measuring crime are their goals and the overlapping of some crimes measured by both. The UCR was devised to provide law enforcement agencies and other entities a picture of the nation’s crime rates. On the other hand, the NCVS was envisioned to complement the UCR in providing government agencies, including law enforcement, researchers, and other entities data and statistics on victimization (Lacey and Bohm 2014, p. 43). The UCR collects data on 8 crimes also called as Part I offenses, which include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson (Haley and Bohm 2014, p. 38). On the other hand, the NCVS collects data emphasizing victimization, and covers rape, robbery, assault, household burglary, theft, including motor vehicle theft (NCBI ).
The main differences between the two types of measuring crime are the source or the collecting agency of crime statistics and the methodology used in reporting crime rates. The UCR, which was initiated in the 1920s (Haley and Bohm 2014, p. 38), is a voluntary programs where various law enforcement agencies all over the country submit their respective reports to their state’s UCR program and the latter turns them over to the FBI for collation. Thus, UCR statistics are founded on police reports or crimes that were reported and, thereafter, recorded by the police. On the other hand, the data collated in the NCVS, which began operation during President Johnson’s term, is conducted by the Census Bureau from household all over the country. Therefore, the data in the NCVS come directly from persons interviewed by the Census Bureau agents. Secondly, the UCR reports data on a per capita basis, that is, crime statistics for every 100,000 population, while the NCVS on a per household basis.
2. Increasing the accuracy of crime measurement in the United States
Theoretically, to increase the accuracy of crime measurement in the country, crime measurement must commence as much as possible nearest the moment the crime is committed. Haley and Bohm (2014, p. 36) created a table of accuracy hierarchy in crime measurement where the moments the crime are committed represent the true amount of crime and imprisonment the least. As earlier discussed, the UCR relies on crimes reported to the police, while the NCVS depends on the truthfulness of persons interviewed. Between the two, the latter is nearer to the top of the hierarchical table because the interview is conducted on the victims themselves. Nonetheless, it suffers from limitations. For one, the data comes from anon-neutral sources - the victims. This aspect hinders the collection of other important data pertaining to crime, such as details about offenders. In addition, the surveys do not include victims with ages 12 years old and below. The government has also proposed the substitution of the UCR with the more extensive NIBRS or the National Incident-Based Reporting System (Haley and Bohm 2014, p. 36), but although the name includes the word ‘incident’ this refers as well to incidents reported to the police.
Haley, K. and Bohm, R. (2014). Introduction to Criminal Justice. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.
NCBI (2014). Estimating the Incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault. National Academies Press. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK202265/