How is Crime Studied?

How is Crime Studied?

Self-report studies

These are studies in which respondents are invited to admit, in confidence, to the crimes they have committed. One longitudinal study of this nature is the Offending, Crime and Justice Survey which measures, through self-reporting, how much criminal and antisocial behaviour was committed in England and Wales by individuals between (mostly) 10 and 25 years of age.

Self-reporting can help reveal information about offenders and offences not recorded in the official reports and statistics. This longitudinal system of self-reporting, however, relies upon the honesty of participants as well as their willingness to take part on a long-term basis.


Victim surveys

Victim surveys, such as The British Crime Survey, quiz households on their experience of crime over the previous year and whether they report it to the police. Such surveys indicate that much crime goes unreported and that actual crime levels are significantly higher than the official records would suggest. This is known as under-reporting.

How is the impact of crime measured?

The impact of crime can be measured in terms of:

1.) Who the victims are and what kind of crime they are the victim of. The British Crime Survey, for example, gives a statistical breakdown of victims in terms of age, gender and ethnicity.

2.) The way in which the victim has been affected financially, socially and psychologically.

3.) How the victim has partaken in the criminal justice process. This may include the reporting of the crime, the provision of evidence and standing as witness in court.