Evaluate Methods of Collecting Statistics About Crime

Evaluate Methods of Collecting Statistics About Crime

Collection Methods

  • Official Statistics: Collected by the government, but might only show a part of the picture as they are often based on reported crimes.
  • Victim Surveys: They include unreported crime but rely on honesty and recall ability of the respondent.
  • Self-report studies: They might bring light to unreported crimes, dependent on accuracy of responses.
  • Local records: Information collected by schools, hospitals, etc., may provide more specific, localised details about crime.


  • Validity of methods: Question the accuracy and whether or not they truly measure crime. For instance, official statistics only record reported and discovered crimes.
  • Reliability of methods: Consider whether the method would produce same results if repeated. For instance, victim surveys might fluctuate depending on the sample size and demographic.
  • Sampling issues: Different samples can yield different results. For instance, a victim survey in a crime-ridden area would likely show higher crime rates than a survey in a more affluent area.
  • Ethical considerations: Is it right to ask people about their criminal activities through self-report studies? There are concerns here regarding both legality and morality.
  • Bias in data collection: Certain types of crime or demographics may be over-represented or under-represented in the data due to biases in collection methods.

Key points to remember include:

  • There are different methods of collecting crime statistics, and each comes with its own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Data on crime is not always a true reflexion of the actual levels of crime due to factors such as unreported crime and differences in collection methods.
  • It is important to consider not just the data itself, but how it is collected, when analysing crime statistics. It is the context that often provides the most revealing information.