In the justice system, there are a number of ways to discuss and evaluate crime, based on the different metrics of documenting it. In particular, the two major methods to collected crime statistics are official crime data and self-reported statistics from particular areas of a city (Mosher et al., 2011). There are both advantages and disadvantages to using both methods, and they have to be considered when deciding on the correct approach to crime data analysis. Official crime statistics are valuable in analysis due to their officiality, as they are documented records of crimes that have occurred or have been committed by people.
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They are a more organized and commonly accepted way to record crime, and they can be used by a wide variety of government agencies. However, they also have a number of flaws as well. Notably, a large portion of crime goes unreported, leaving potential cases of criminality outside the scope of this approach (Mosher et al., 2011). Additionally, corruption in the criminal justice system, can lead to mistakes in the identification of crimes, their peculiarities, or falsification of criminal behavior itself. The second method of discussing crime is self-reporting. This method relies on surveying the population and asking people about the potential crimes they have committed as a way of gather data.
Opposite to official records, self-reporting has a wider range of effect, yielding potential results that would not have otherwise been known to authorities (Mosher et al., 2011). It is important to note, however, that this approach is also not completely foolproof, and is prone to its own mistakes. In particular, some types of crime will be underreported, and the accuracy of data largely depends on people’s honesty and ability to identify crime, which gives the process a large degree of fallibility.
Mosher, C. J., Miethe, T. D., & Hart, T. C. (2011). The mismeasure of crime. SAGE.