Like any study of human behavior, criminology should be built on solid informati
Like any study of human behavior, criminology should be built on solid information about its content area. Some of the most interesting info comes from 1) biographies of criminals, from 2) descriptive studies of organizations, and from 3) participant observation reports. Those are the “qualitative” studies described in the text, and they usually appear in the form of books and lengthy reports. If you move deeper into law enforcement or criminology, you’ll want to read many of those studies. The text author offers short vignets from many, but really appreciating the topics requires a lot more reading.
All behavioral studies also require “quantitative” data — numbers, frequencies and other statistics about their topics. Criminology is no exception. Numbers summarize behaviors of interest. Remember that: Numbers “SUMMARIZE.” And statistical analysis of those numbers often offers additional insights. In fact, quantitative data on crimes are the data most often quoted as the basis for many generalizations that the author and the general criminological community make. Through this week’s assignment, I want you to become familiar with two of the most commonly quoted quantitative data in criminology, at least up to now. In subsequent assignments, I’ll have you explore some qualitative sources also.
You will not be asked in this class to run complex inferential statistical analyses, but you will need to learn where to find data and how to draw your own conclusions about what the data mean. Just doing that is really basic statistical analysis, the same kind that you often do when you shop, pay bills, or plan your day. Statistical analysis simply adds a lot more about the “significance” of quantitative data.
Below these paragraphs, there is a table of data from an Excel spreadsheet. The table lists frequencies for 6 major crimes both from the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and from the National Crime Victim Surveys (NCVS), for years 2015 and 2016. You need to look up the FBI’s web site and find the section on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. There locate the UCR information that is missing in the spreadsheet below, and fill out the spreadsheet. You can get the requested info from the UCR’s Offense Table #1 for 2015. (If you have time, explore some of the other Tables in that area. That’ll give you a sense of how much data is available. As they say, that’s only the “tip of the iceberg.”)
Compare the frequencies from the two surveys. Then answer appropriately:
1. For which crime is the discrepancy between the UCR and the NCVS data greatest? In a few sentences, tell why that crime’s frequencies might be so different (recall the text reading on the subject.)
2. Of the 6 crimes in both years, only one will show NCVS frequencies that are usually lower than those reported in the UCR Tables. Which is that, and why are those numbers usually lower in the National Crime Victim Surveys?
(I assume that you are familiar with Excel, or at least, with Tables in Word. Excel is far easier to work with than Word Tables, but copy and paste the data below to one or the other. Fill in the blanks and then, before you upload your assignment to the assignments or submit, be sure to copy that table back into the Word Document…or attach the Excel spreadsheet to the assignment. I need to see the numbers that you are comparing. And that will tell me whether you succeeded in finding the rich FBI site, too.)
Table for Assgnment #2: Comparing UCR and NCVS
2016 UCR NCVS
Aggravated Assault 803,007 1,084,342
Rape 95,730 323,449
Burglary 1,515,096 3,291,490
Larceny Theft 11,142,310
Motor Vehicle Theft 765,484 564,158
2015 UCR NCVS
Aggravated Assault 764,449 816,760
Larceny Theft 11,142,310
Motor Vehicle Theft 707,758 564,160