Measuring crime can be a difficult process. By its very nature, crime is something that goes undetected. Law enforcement has developed a variety of techniques to track crime, such as police reports and victim reports. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program for tracking crime; it reports crime in more than one way. All crime reporting and tracking systems categorize crime and have certain limitations.
Measuring crime involves tracking statistics such as demographic information and moderator variables related to the crimes. Moderator variables are any third variable in a correlation that affects the relationship between the first two variables. For example, we may find that gender is related to violent crime with a higher percentage of males engaging in violent behavior. However, a moderator variable would be age, with the highest percentage of violent offenders being below the age of 30.
Research US crime statistics using the Argosy University online library resources and the Internet. You can also use the following:
- US Department of Justice, The Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2009). 2008 crime in the United States: About crime in the U.S. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2008
Select a crime and write a report addressing the following:
- Summarize the statistics from the last two reporting years. Be sure to include demographic information such as ethnicity, race, age, gender, marital status, employment status, socioeconomic group, etc., and moderator variables related to the crime.
- Examine the reliability and validity of these statistics. Are they accurate? Why or why not? Be sure to discuss how age, gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic level are related to offending and representation in the criminal justice system.
- Explain whether certain populations are overrepresented in the statistics. If so, why?
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