Term Paper: Dark Figure of Crime

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[. . .] The Directorate supplies the figures to the BCS, which is primarily a "victimization" survey (RDSD).

The RDSD would hold the Survey every year, instead of twice a year, from 2001 and aim at a considerably larger sample of 40,000 adults, including an ethnic minority booster sample. This was because of the need for a greater number of interviews to raise the level of accuracy of monitored crime trends and to better track violent offenses (RDSD). The Directorate also believed that it could provide better indicators of fear of crime and satisfaction with police performance. A broader BCS, in its view, could also be used to monitor best value indicators for police forces at their area level and better disseminate some parts of the questionnaire to a subset of the full sample (RSDS).

The respondents were taken at random from the England and Wales' postcode address file and face-to-face interviews were held from January to April in that survey year. Achieved response was a high 74%. They were asked a few questions in determining who among the household members would be interviewed.

The British Crime Survey helps improve awareness and knowledge because it includes crimes, which are not reported to the police, and, therefore, is an important alternative or complement to public records (RDSD). It is believed to have succeeded in developing, or leading to the development of, special or specific measures to estimate the extent of domestic violence, stalking and sexual victimization. These crimes appeared to be the least reported to the police yet, and precisely because, they were/are among the most serious impact on victims. Most victims do/did not report the crimes and, without the BCS, the government would have no knowledge of their occurrence.

The BCS as a record is unaffected by varying behaviors in victims who reported the crimes to the police, nor by the time span, the places or the respective police practices about recording crimes (RDSD). BCS also helps identify sectors, which are most at risk of the different types of crime. This way, it provides the needed inputs in developing suitable crime-reduction measures and in determining their effectiveness. It also reviews the people's attitudes to crimes, the Criminal Justice System itself and how much the people fear crime.

Results from the 2001 BCS revealed that burglary decreased by 17% between 1999 and 2000; thefts of and from vehicles went down by 19%; crime victimization generally decreased from 30% to 27%, the lowest recorded by BCS.

BCS revealed that (its) people continued to over-estimate the problem of crime, despite its recorded overall decrease (RDSD). More than a quarter of the respondents even believed that the national crime rate had gone up, which directly contradicted BCS report and findings.

There were other problems encountered by the BCS in its conduct of random interviews. Not every prospective interviewee was a householder; many types of crimes were not included, such as corporate and victimless crimes and crimes against those under 16 years old (RDSD).

The issue or problem on the fear of crime was approached as the relationship between a high rate (which was objective) and the fear of crime (which was subjective) (Young 2001). Women and the elderly, therefore, were seen as having an objectively low rate of victimization but a subjectively high fear of crime. In contrast, young men had a very high objective risk but a subjectively much lower fear rate. This was evident in inner city London. But irrationality and fragility could not explain why women and the elderly had a higher fear of crime, because they were, indeed, more victimized than men (Young). Crimes against them were quite often concealed or bypassed, as most domestic crimes were less likely to get incorporated into public or official statistics than property crimes.

This means that crimes against women (and the elderly) were under-estimated or underplayed, especially they involved highly-placed women and women of global renown or notice.

Women were also customarily subjected to incivilities to which men were exempt and the impact of crimes that ensued could not be squarely addressed without first addressing the gender basis.

Women were/are also more economically, socially and physically crime-vulnerable than men and are, therefore, "unequal" victims of crime to men. Many crimes against women are/were also relationship-based and about patriarchy (Young). The woman has always been viewed as belonging to the home, and domestic crime occurs within that atmosphere where the woman was/is economically dependent and cannot just escape from the patriarchy. Incivilities "inherent" to the female extend to the streets and reflect that patriarchal dominance (Young). What clearer demonstration of this than men's freedom to roam the inner streets of Europe at night, but women mostly curfewed out of fear of crime?

Most of all, women (and the elderly) are/were generally more sensitive to violence than men. It can be concluded that it appears to be their nature to react to danger and so they seemed to have developed a female culture, which is/was opposed to violence. In contrast, men generally react/reacted to danger with an opposite insensitiveness or even fondness for violence that, in their view, proved/proves or enhances/enhanced their courage, strength and manhood (Young).


Dougherty, J. (2000) Britain, Australia Top U.S. In Violent Crime. World Net Daily. http://power.consumercide.com/aust-uk-us-crimefigs.html

George, M. (2002) Tackling Crimes: Drug Links. BBC News Online. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/uk/2253559.shtm

Kury, H. (2000) Concerning the Dark Figure of Crime in Eastern Europe. Max-Planck Institute. http://www.asc41/www/2000/absdm005.htm

Mason, T. (1991) Official Statistics and the Dark Figure. Lecture 2, p 196. Social Trends. HMSO: Central Statistical Office. http://peso-click-internet.fr/tmason/WebPages/Deviance/Deviance2.htm

Research, Development and Statistics Directorate. (2000) The British Crime Survey. http://www.rouncefield.homestead.com/files/a/soc_dev_24.htm

Young, J. (2001) The Extent of Crime. http://malcolmread.co.uk/JockYoung/the_extent_of_crime.pdf

Risk of Crime and Fear of Crime: the Politics of Victimization Studies. http://www.malcomread.co.uk/JockYoung/Risk.htm [END OF PREVIEW]

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