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Crime Reporting

In: Social Issues

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Crime Reporting and Victimization Paper
Christian Viejo
CJS/239
September 12th, 2012
Bob Young

Crime Reporting and Victimization Paper
Imagine living in a world where there is nothing that is tracked. We would have no way of knowing our history as we do now and will only have what someone makes up. In order to know our history and the history around, it is important to take notes and keep a record of all events. The same goes for keeping track of other items such as crimes. It is important to keep track of this information so that we can pick up and trends that may be caught on and help prevent the crimes in the future. In order to keep track of this information, there are certain tools that help keep track of it. We will discuss those tools and the differences of them. We will also discuss the impact of victimization and how the data can help prevent crimes against someone in the future.
Common Sources of Crime Reporting Data
According to the “National Institute of Justice” (2009), there are two major reports that are used to collect data on crimes within our country. The first of these reports is called the Uniform Crime Reports, also known as UCR. The second of these is called the National Incident-Based Reporting System. Someone may ask why there are two different sources being used and the answer is simple. Each report although collects similar information, collect different information and is used by different agencies. The Uniform Crime Report is mainly used by the FBI which has been in use for nearly a century. This report collects on eight different crimes. The crimes that are collected are murder, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, theft, vehicle theft and arson. The information on this report comes from over several thousand police agencies and helps the FBI track this data for investigations into crimes or for statistical purposes. The National Incident- Based Reporting System is a newer system which was designed by the results of the FBI wanting to revise the system they used. This system has less law enforcement agencies providing information but the information that is available in this system is much more detailed than what the Uniform Crime Report provides. This system tracks 46 crimes and provides detailed information in the arrest of these crimes unlike its counterpart.
Victimization Terms and Theories Crime reporting data is used to understand victimization. Victimization can be defined either as the process of becoming a victim of a crime or can be defined simply as becoming a victim. To really understand what causes crimes, we need to look into common theories. Although the study of victimization dates back to the 1940’s, there was not much info on it and no solid theories for it to be something that was taught. One of the first scholars to really dig into victimology which is the study of victimization, was Hans von Hentig. The focus on his research was to determine the relationship between the victim and offender as he felt they all had some sort of relationship. What was unique about Hentig was he used personal factors to associate it with the victims. He categorized 12 different categories of victims. With the start of Hentig’s work, the subject of victimology grew and many scholars and theories came into play. These studies and theories laid the foundation to the modern victimization theories we study today. In the victim precipitation theory, “victimizations result from a number of precipitating factors, one of which is the victims behavior, including lifestyle interactions in situations in which deviance and criminality flourish”(Meadows, 2014). What this states is the offender who risks themselves to commit a crime risk themselves becoming a victim. An example of this is in an attempt to rob someone, the victim may choose to fight back or may be protecting themselves with a weapon resulting the offender becoming a victim of their activity. This is known as active precipitation. With something active, there is also something passive which is known as passive participation. This is the opposite in which the victim unknowingly starts a confrontation with someone else. Other common theories that are studied for victimization is the broken windows theory. This theory basically states that when a community deteriorates, the rate of crime increases. Examples can include poor run down neighborhoods with the lack of police presence. Another theory that can relate to this one is the defensible space theory in which people who live in these run down neighborhoods are more likely to defend themselves from becoming victims. In relation to these two theories, there is a third theory known as the routine activities theory in which it proposes that the motivation to commit a crime and amount of offenders are constant. According to this theory, there are three requirements for victimization which are the targets that are suitable. This can be houses, cars jewelry, etc. The second requirement is the absence of guardians such as lack of police or even the elderly. The third requirement is the presence of offenders who are motivated. This can include gang members who share similar views.
Trends and the Impact of Victimization With having all of this information, law enforcement agencies are able to keep track of crimes. They can determine what kind of crimes they can see in a specific area or neighborhood and also trends that can help them to prevent future activities. The type of trends they can determine is time and day of these crimes. They can determine when and how many extra patrols need to be out to deter the activity. They can also determine in a case of vehicle theft, what kind of car is usually broken into. They are also able to determine the rate of crime by specific seasons. Keeping track of data is important. It helps us know what we need to do in order to keep our society from going hectic with crime. With accurate and constant information being provide by all the law enforcement agencies, it can only help our communities. We can help prevent crimes against victims because one may never know when they can be a victim themselves.

References:
Meadows, R. J. (2014). Understanding Violence and Victimization (6th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
National Institute of Justice. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/pages/ucr-nibrs.aspx

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