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How Much Do We Really Know About Crime? Essay

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How do we know about crime?
A crime is an action or behavior that is made illegal. What we know about crime comes from what we see and what we hear from our peers and in the media. But how much do we really know about crime?
What we see gives us some knowledge of crime. We might be a witness to a crime but this can mislead us because we may not actually witness a crime happening at all. For example, a person may see someone trying to break into a car and report it, when in reality the person locked their keys in the car and was trying to get them out. Crime is also portrayed in the media such as in the newspaper, and it has even made its way into television shows and movies. But even the media isn’t that reliable because they focus on
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Police officers only discover 3 to 4 percent of crime so there are a lot of crimes that aren’t included in the UCR. (Lynch and Addington 2007) Even when police officers discover crime they may or may not record it. Police only record 65 percent of calls. (Warner and Pierce 1993) A lot of crime isn’t reported to the UCR and this gives us an inaccurate count of crime. People may also have different definitions of crime. A police officer in one area may consider one crime to be more serious than a police officer in a different area, resulting in the crime not being reported at all or it being reported as more serious or less serious than it is.
The National Crime Victimization Survey is another way of measuring crime. It interviews people of randomly selected homes every six months for 3 years. People age 12 and older are asked if they or their household has been a victim of crimes such as rape, burglary, etc. It also asks the age, race, and gender of the victim and whether the crime was reported. The NCVS isn’t that reliable in informing us about crime because some people may forget about the crimes or just choose not to record it. Since the NCVS interviews households the homeless and runaway teenagers that don’t live in a home aren’t included in the data. Also schools and businesses aren’t included in the data resulting in white collar crime not being recorded. Children younger than 12 that may have been a
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