Surveys and Statistics Means To Control Crime

Crime in the United States, ever-rising and always concerning. When it comes to collecting the data on these crimes such as what types, the frequency, the location, and the victim’s side, there are three main methods. Victimization surveys, official statistics, and self-report surveys. This information is meant to help identify problem areas and popular crimes, so law enforcement will be better prepared for the next occurrences. In this essay, I will analyze each of these methods, provide important information while comparing and contrasting the three.

I believe I will find a lot of things are very interesting and some things I may not have known. Official Statistics, also known as UCR, is collected by the FBI. The FBI collects reports from over 17,000 police departments across the nation.

This information is collected in many different categories, such as, changes in crime rates, crime rates per 100,000, as well as raw figures of the crimes reported to police and arrests made. One of the major strengths of this source is that it provides a national sample of crime, not just localized crime.

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The sample is consistent as it measures out homicides and arrests. By collecting data across the nation we are also able to identify any patterns or trends when comparing and contrasting state crime reports. Of course, this source also comes with it’s weaknesses. It fails to include crime that is not reported to the police, unlike the other two sources. It omits drug usage when the crime is committed, leaving out a potential influence of the crime.

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This source could even contain reporting error, as information may be incorrect at the time the report was written. Overall, a fairly good source, but it is not without human error that is an impacting human factor.

Any mistake an officer makes when writing a report can result in throwing off national statistics, giving inaccurate numbers and data. Self-Report Surveys, this is when an individual is typically questioned about their involvement in a crime. These crimes may or may not have been brought to the attention of law enforcement already. These surveys are given anonymously to ensure that all answers are to remain private and confidential. This is pretty much just a local survey. A few strengths for this survey could be that

  1. Non-reported crimes are included,
  2. the offender’s personal information is always included, and
  3. knowledge of substance abuse of use of any drug/alcohol is provided in this data.

As one can see, this does it’s best to look into the why and how a crime was committed. When it comes to weaknesses, there are plenty of them. This survey relies on the fact that the offender will be honest. Offenders who are unwilling or unable to participate in the survey are automatically omitted.

Lastly, they also omit offenders who may too deviant or dangerous to be interviewed, which could leave out important information needed to complete the research. As far as how humans affect this source of data there is one major one; honesty. The offenders have the potential and opportunity to lie in order to avoid further incriminating themselves. If an offender is dishonest, this could drastically change statistics and provide false information to the public. This appears to be a flaw of this method altogether as everyone is not capable of being honest. Victimization Survey, the victim gives an account of the crime committed. The NCVS (National Crime Victimization survey) aims to record crimes that have otherwise not been reported to the law enforcement.

This NCVS team goes out to interview between 49,000 and 77,400 households twice each year. The data that is collected when they go out is in regards to the frequency and characteristics of the crime. It also goes more in depth as to discuss the sex, age, race, and relationship of the victim and offender. With this method come a few strengths and weaknesses as mentioned previously. I will first begin by discussing the strengths of using this method. The NCVS is able to provide an overall estimate of household crimes, including those not reported to the police. This survey helps us to understand why the victims did not report the crime committed against them and if they will ever report. It essentially just provides a good look into people’s thought process when a crime has been committed, will it be reported? If no, why not? How will they cope with this? How many go unreported? The hard-hitting questions will soon find their answers.

However, although it may have strengths it certainly has weaknesses to follow. A weakness of the victimization survey would be that crimes may be overreported, to provide an example, someone losing their wallet or car keys could end up being reported as stolen although it may not be. Some people may forget the events that led up to or ended an incident, leaving out important details. Others may even fear getting in trouble for either failing to report a crime or even having some involvement in a crime. As for how humans may impact this source of data, I believe it could be forgetfulness. If an incident occurred in 2008 and the victim is being interviewed in the year 2018, their memory may be hazy and result in false information. Now having analyzed each source of data separately, the comparison begins. In regards to gender, social class, and race/ethnicity the sources typically show similar data.

By looking at the 2017 UCR for homicides, I was able to view this information. I was able to see that in the United States, statistics show that African American males are most common to commit homicide between the ages 18 and 22. It was unknown was social class these offenders belonged to. However, it is believed that most crimes are committed by those who are less financially stable than others. So these sources of data show similar information in that regard. Now, taking a look at UTA crime rates. In 2017, there were five instances of rape that were reported on campus with four being in residential quarters. This has risen from 2016 where four instances of rape were reported, and 2015 where only one instance of rape on campus was recorded. In that same year there were also four instances of aggravated assault on campus, with the previous year only being two.

Although the year 2015 did have three reported cases of aggravated assault on campus, these are still relatively low numbers. Also in 2017, 20 cases of domestic violence were reported on campus, a decline from the previous year which was up to 24, and a definite rise from 2015 which brought two reported cases. It seems as if domestic violence could possibly be an issue for UTA as young adults venture into exciting and more “mature” relationships. Taking a look at another DFW campus, I will compare these stats. The University I will be looking at is UT Dallas. They have their crime logs divided by month and year, so I collected data from January of 2015, 2016, and 2017. In the year 2015, three cases of sexual assault were reported on campus, in 2016 no instances of sexual assault reported, and in 2017 also no reports of sexual assault. A decline from the year 2015. When it comes to aggravated assault, there were five instances reported on campus in 2015.

While in 2016 and 2017 there was only one reported instance between those two years. Looking at domestic violence, there was only one reported case between the years 2015-2017. This seems to be quite different from UTA statistics. I believe these campuses may show different reports could be due to age differences, people may not be reporting all crimes and an over report of crimes. Age could affect the crime logs because younger people may be less likely to report a crime than an older adult. These reasons kind of go hand in hand, people could be too scared to report a crime that occurred or too overzealous to report a crime. All of this could potentially have an effect on the annual crime logs. Overall, I do not believe UTA is less or more safe than UTD.

Statistically speaking, UTA does have more reported crimes, but students at UTD may just be reporting incidents less. There are many different things that could lead to these statistics, so it would be safe to assume that no campus is less or more safe than the other. So when it comes to this, I would be equally aware of my surroundings and the people I interact with on both campuses. Crime is unpredictable, even with many methods to try to predict it.

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Surveys and Statistics Means To Control Crime. (2021, Dec 26). Retrieved from

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