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Michelle
Michelle, Paralegal
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4136
Experience:  31 years of experience in criminal, real estate, juvenile and family law
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Crime Stats that are Misleading (Reasons why)?

Customer Question

It appreas that statistics related to crime are inaccurate because not all crime is reported, but under what circumstances might the reports of crime produce misleading statistics?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 7 years ago.

Customer,

Another condition under which crime reports have been misleading is when it comes to race. It is a fact that the news has taken part in demonizing black men and making it look as if most crime is black, and the majority of it perpetrated by black men. This has been proven over and over again when the news has jumped too quickly on a story of "a black man/men did it" without proof, and then to have it proven later that it wasn't so. Studies have shown that black crime is much more likely to be given air time than white crime. Additionally, contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that most crime is committed against people by people of their own race, ie white people usually kill white people, black people usually kill black people, etc. However these studies continue to be ignored.

The convictions for powder cocaine, is less than half of the conviction for the exact same amount of crack cocaine. Whereas powder cocaine is known to be a "white" drug, and "crack" cocaine has been know to be sold by blacks. The sentences are much harder, jails are filled with black teenage drug dealers doing life for selling crack, while powder cocaine defendants are lucky if they do time at all. Does this mean blacks do more drugs or sell more drugs? Are they subjected to harsher punishments? Are they given fair trials? Does this all impact crime statistics?

I'm not quite sure if this is what you were looking for, but please let me know if I can be if further assistance.

Chase

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yea, I agree with your views but I am looking for circumstances which affect the concrete stats reflected by let's say the UCR Program. Why are some major crimes shown in the reports a result of misleading statistics? One thought: perhaps because if two crimes are in a conviction that only one is put in the stats as the prominant offense, or because a murder didn't meet the criteria in being considered the offense due to "what"...I am hunting answers "under what circumstances" might reports of crime produce misleading stats? Thank you.
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 7 years ago.

Customer,

Some reasons I would list would be interference with production/reporting/presentation of statistics by law enforcement, lack of equal coverage in different geographical areas/races/age groups, etc, use of conflicting categories or definitions and statistics left open to interpretation.

Chase

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I think you're on to something here in the additional response...could you elaborate...I am looking for a couple of specific circumstances which reflect a reason(s), not solely a reason(s). Thank you!!
Expert:  Michelle replied 7 years ago.

dear Customer

Chase has forwarded this to me - as a former journalist who covered cops and courts, I used to run into these discrepancies a lot. The way it was always explained to me is that many crimes are defined differently in varying states. For instance, some might report a rape as a sex offense - while another state will actually report it as a rape.

i.e. > according to the USDOJ website

Until 1984, ‘rape' was defined as the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will. On July 1, 1984, Illinois' sexual assault laws became gender neutral and the old concept of rape was broadened to include many types of sexual assault. This index crime now includes all sexual assaults, completed and attempted, aggravated and non-aggravated.

Also, things like armed robbery which have been plead down to robbery throw off the stats, too.

Another reason would be the reporting period for certain jurisdictions. Some might report from Jan to May and another might go an entire fiscal year. In recent years, there have been efforts by the DOJ to correct these reporting efforts so that the UCR would be more uniform.

Additionally,

Some jurisdictions were not accurately reporting the data because there were grants available for those jurisdictions and based on the statistics agencies were eligible for an award, and thus the crime figures reported to the FBI for that jurisdiction may be lower than had actually occurred. In some States an agency reporting as few as five violent crimes in the 3-year period qualified for a grant of over $10,000.

If you care to be more specific in your reason for this question (personal information or some type of paper you are writing) I can try to further assist you.

Thanks ~ Michelle

Michelle, Paralegal
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4136
Experience: 31 years of experience in criminal, real estate, juvenile and family law
Michelle and 16 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Michelle,

This is exactly what I was hunting and yes, as a matter of fact I am in CJ studies and attempting to write a paper. I have answered all requirements, with the exception of three additional ones that I lack! Yikes! I am happy and pleased topay for your knowledgable response and if you happen to have additional expertise in regard to drug-related issues and crime, as well as another specific question related to property crime, I will gladly pay for further answers and/or an attractive bonus. Thanks you!!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Michelle:

Would you like to be paid for the above esponse first, prior to continuing? If not, I will commit to one lump sum payment which will include a handsome bonus. Also, do you elect to be cited in my paper (APA)? If so, as a "personal communication" or from this Web site, or ________?
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 7 years ago.

Hello Customer,

Yes, it is completely appropriate to pay Michelle if you are happy with this answer. After that, you can simply click reply and add your next question, or you can open a new question and address it to Michelle, mentioning that you want to have her and only her answer the question. Either way I will let her know that you are waiting for her, since she is offline at the moment. She should be back shortly.

Chase

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Michelle:

I paid the minimum for the wonderful response given me. I have three additional concerns as follows (and will pay considerably more...considerably!
1) What reasons might people give for not reporting property crime to the police?
2) Why do drugs continue to be at the forefront of the "crime policy agenda" in spite of the reported decline in drug abuse?
3) Would the associatio between drugs and crime disappear if drugs were either legalized or decriminalized?
Again, I will pay you well for your expertise responses! Thank you Michelle!
Expert:  Michelle replied 7 years ago.

Dear Customer

I WROTE THIS BEFORE I SAW YOUR PREVIOUS POST. I WILL WORK ON THOSE ANSWERS - In the meantime, read over this. Thanks

I am back and I thank you for the accept. You want to know why drug crimes would show different stats - again, that would be soley based on one of two or a combination of both reasons as stated above.

Drug crimes such as distribution fall into different classes - and so what might constitute a distribution charge for say Marijuana in one state may be a simple possession in another. Of course, there is an effort to try to get these crimes all on the same page. Some are - as far a federal charge is concerned. But when you look at state laws they vary - for instance, it is just recently that MD lowered the penalty for possession of marijuana - if it can be proved that it is for medicinal puposes. Once that penalty would have been up to 3 years in jail with a fine for possession of one joint - however, it is now $100 fine if for medinical reasons. Yet, states like California have had that possession charge changed years ago.

Basically, it boils down to how large a jurisdiction is that is reporting the stats, what the defintion of the crime is that they are reporting - is the police agency totally honest in its approach to what is a violent crime or crime against a victim - Batlimore City, for example recently was underfire for inaccuracies in reporting crimes. That was due to whether or not a police report was filled out.

Most jurisdictions will forward their stats to the State Police and then a compilation is done - and, as in the Baltimore situation - the blame was placed on the MSP for inaccurate data. There was a lot of finger pointing going on

Here is a link to a Press Release from the Mayor's office - and take note that at the time of the controversy the Baltimore Mayor was running for Governor

http://www.baltimorecity.gov/news/press/041028.html

so there was a huge question of the intergrity of the reports.

Here is a link to a story about it in the Washinton Post (I wld copy and paste - but it is long - you may have to register -free of cost to read it)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/02/AR2006030201812.html

But let me know, if you cannot and I will cut and paste it for you.

On the point of sources - I can send you a PM (private message) with my full creditials - let me know how you choose.

Thanks ~ Michelle

 

Expert:  Michelle replied 7 years ago.

Dear Customer

QUESTION 1

I don't think that iproperty crimes are unreported as much as it an incident report is not filled out - that was the BIGGEST complaint when Baltimore City had it's reports questioned. Residents said they called he police and instead of them taking a report on a burglary - they would just shrug it off - and would then turn around and tell the person that they probably stole the property anyway so it was not theirs to lose (true stories - that I am trying to hunt down for you to no avail) - so folks stop calling in burglaries in the cities - for fear of police intimidation and retribution.

QUESTION 2

The downward trend, in my opinion, is due to the fact that the use of drugs is not reported because, fortunately the bigger crime is being prosecuted. However, it is well known that drug addiction is responsible for 42 to 80 percent of the crimes -

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/drrc.pdf

As examples, "he was high when he robbed the 7-11 - needed the money for his habit" "she was very intoxicated and high on crack when she smacked the baby" And so the pressure still has to be applied to programs for substance abuse treatments - whether behind the wire or with aftercare upon release.

And so because drug users commit more crimes, it is important to focus on prevenative programs (DARE in grade in middle schools http://www.dare.com/home/default.asp ) as well as the rehabilitative measures (RESTART http://www.dpscs.state.md.us/rehabservs/restart.shtml )

QUESTION 3

Legalization would only create a black market for drugs - leading to more gang-related activities - decriminalization has shown some decrease in charges of simple possession and, therefore, have left the bed spaces available in prisons for more violent criminals.

Hope this is useful. Let me know what else is needed and best of success to you.

Thanks ~ Michelle

 

 

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks Michelle. I think I may have mislead you in what I am wanting. Previosuly, the attention was given to statistics, but now, that is set aside. I am wondering a bit more about legalizing drugs or perhaps decriminalizing which can resuly in leaglizing such. Would crime in your professional opinion, disappear (that is,the association between drugs and crime disappear)?

On the other question, I am thinking for reason you mentioned in regard to law enforcments' response to victims of property crime, but I am also think maybe it is because the property may be in that person's possession unlawfully or illegally. Thoughts? Or perhaps for insurance reason maybe?

Then lastly, I do not even understand the term "crime policy agenda" (except to think that what the white hats and the pres. attempt to gain majority vote--or perhaps associated with counter-terrorism and money laundering via drugs to fund attacks maybe)however, I am wondering why drugs are such a big issue in the crime policy agenda, especially when drug abuse is not as staistically high as prior recent years show. Is there a reason or reasons that it remains such a big deal and why?

Thank you so-o-o much! Do I cite you in my paper if I elect to use your communication? If so, how? "Personal communication," this Web Site, or ____________? Thanks!!!
Expert:  Michelle replied 7 years ago.

Dear Customer

Now sure if you saw my responses to your questions

Dear Customer

QUESTION 1

I don't think that property crimes are unreported as much as it an incident report is not filled out - that was the BIGGEST complaint when Baltimore City had it's reports questioned. Residents said they called he police and instead of them taking a report on a burglary - they would just shrug it off - and would then turn around and tell the person that they probably stole the property anyway so it was not theirs to lose (true stories - that I am trying to hunt down for you to no avail) - so folks stop calling in burglaries in the cities - for fear of police intimidation and retribution.

QUESTION 2

The downward trend, in my opinion, is due to the fact that the use of drugs is not reported because, fortunately the bigger crime is being prosecuted. However, it is well known that drug addiction is responsible for 42 to 80 percent of the crimes -

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/drrc.pdf

As examples, "he was high when he robbed the 7-11 - needed the money for his habit" "she was very intoxicated and high on crack when she smacked the baby" And so the pressure still has to be applied to programs for substance abuse treatments - whether behind the wire or with aftercare upon release.

And so because drug users commit more crimes, it is important to focus on prevenative programs (DARE in grade in middle schools http://www.dare.com/home/default.asp ) as well as the rehabilitative measures (RESTART http://www.dpscs.state.md.us/rehabservs/restart.shtml )

QUESTION 3

Legalization would only create a black market for drugs - leading to more gang-related activities - decriminalization has shown some decrease in charges of simple possession and, therefore, have left the bed spaces available in prisons for more violent criminals.

Right you are - the Crime Policy Agenda is via the FBI, etc. as established by J.E Hoover way back when. I just dont see crime stopping. There might be a decrease in property crimes - where a junkie is stealing to hock the goods for money for the habit - but there would still be a black market of the drugs and that in itself would create crimes of a new and different nature. Also, just because there would be programs to supply the drugs to the addicts - it does not mean that a person high on the drug would not cause some violent crime - out of just "not responsible" for actions. That is my opinion. If you go to you Personal Message or PM - I can tell you how to cite me as a source. I will send you a PM - you will get notice of such and then you need to open it up. Let me know, if you get it. OK?

Hope this is useful. Let me know what else is needed and best of success to you.

Thanks ~ Michelle

 

 

 

Michelle, Paralegal
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4136
Experience: 31 years of experience in criminal, real estate, juvenile and family law
Michelle and 16 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
You have been awesome. I'd like to use you again in the very near future, if I may. I will look for the arrival of your PM...in the meantime, I am paying for your fabulous help!

Godspeed,
rdestes
Expert:  Michelle replied 7 years ago.

Best of luck to you

You can just put a request lock on it, if should have something more in the future. Hope you get the PM. Thanks very much. Best of success to you

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