Essay on Dark Figure of Crime

2329 Words Mar 18th, 2009 10 Pages
I am going to discuss the accuracy of the statistics used to measure crime using examples.

Is the world a more dangerous place now than fifty years ago? Do we all have the same views on what is a crime? Who are ‘criminals’?

I am going to look in detail at exactly how crimes are recorded in England and Wales, what process a crime has to go through before it is recorded, and what happens to all those crimes that go unrecorded.

I accept that this is a diverse and controversial area, and for the purpose of this essay I am going to concentrate on attempting to discover just what the relationship is between the real crime statistics and the Dark Figure of crime.

According to statistics, the British crime rate has risen regularly
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A Home Office study in 2000 attempted to estimate the number of offences committed in England and Wales which concluded that 60 million offences were committed in England and Wales and concluded that 60 million were committed in 1999/2000. This is over five times that recorded by the BCS and around ten times police recorded time.

So we can see how by recording crimes in these different ways we are left with contradicting results, in fact in order for an incident to even be included in any type of statistic it has to go through many different stages of a long and hazardous process.

First, the incident or ‘crime’ must be witnessed, or even acknowledged that the crime is even happening, for example if a barman purposely short-changes a drunken customer, chances are that the customer will not have any idea that they have just been robbed, even serious crimes may go unnoticed, for example the serial killer Dennis Nilsen preyed on unattached young males, was able to murder many of them without their disappearance being noticed.
Also the witness to the behaviour must class that behaviour as criminal, for example one person might consider it perfectly acceptable to help themselves to the office stationary, while another would consider this theft. Definitions of theses kinds are open to evolution- what is considered acceptable today was less so 20 years ago. Take the case of violence; 30 years ago it would have been perfectly…

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