Police reports, charges filed, indictments, and criminal complainant forms are all data that is collected as a means to understand the crime in an area and to aid in Prosecution of an individual, and is a form of data that is collected within the criminal justice field. Crime data is very important in the criminal justice field, as it helps in many aspects, such as ways to better handle crime in the future. By using official data such as those listed above it can better improve the justice field and police-community relationship. “More often than not, researchers are forced to rely on official data, as codified in the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), to provide information about the amount of criminal behavior across, and within, jurisdictions. The rationale is simple. Rarely, if ever, are there any alternative, macro-level measures of crime. This is particularly true for those among us who are interested in assessing the impact of changes, over time, in the social environment (e.g., legislation, historical events) on volume of illegal behavior.” (Chamlin, M. B., & Krajewski, A. E., 2016).
One issue that I see with using official data is that not all crimes are reported, such as with domestic violence situations and rape victims. Also the official may have different categories list for different crimes then what your average officer would list them as. A murder in a domestic violence situation is still a murder, but should it not be listed as domestic violence as well. “Existing data systems, such as the Uniform Crime Reports, often use categories that do not provide the details necessary to understand the relationships among the victims and offenders.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, 2011: violent crime. 2012.) The main change that I would make would have to be with the way that the crimes are reported by adding more categories, and more information to the crime. A violent crime is not always just a violent crime, sometimes there are under lying crimes committed that resulted in a violent crime and vice versa.
Chamlin, M. B., & Krajewski, A. E. (2016). Are Alternative Sources of Official Crime Data Interchangeable? A Note on Inter-Agency Consistency. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 27(8), 751–765. https://doi.org/ 10.1177/0887403414553447
Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, 2011: violent crime. 2012. Available at: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/violent-crime/violent-crime . Accessed September 3, 2019.
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