Estimating Crime Rates from Police Reports and Victim Surveys: Progressive Convergence in Time Series Analyses

Estimating Crime Rates from Police Reports and Victim Surveys: Progressive Convergence in Time Series Analyses

Estimating Crime Rates from Police Reports and Victim Surveys: Progressive Convergence in Time Series Analyses

Estimating Crime Rates from Police Reports and Victim Surveys: Progressive Convergence in Time Series Analyses

Synopsis

Ansari tests and explains the progressive convergence between the UCR and NCVS crime data series using multi method approach and time seriesanalysis. Graphic and correlational analyses support the convergence between the two series for all categories. However, the cointegration test indicates that the series are cointegrated for burglary and are in the process of converging for robbery and violent crime. The results of autoregressive models show that police productivity in terms of crime reporting and the methodological changes in the NCVS in 1992 are significant factors that reduce the divergence between the UCR and NCVS data sets.

Excerpt

The official crime statistics provided by the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) and National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) are a central part of criminal justice research. The vast number of studies addressing the problem of crime and law enforcement use the data provided by these two measures. The use of the data by popular media, law enforcements, policy makers, and researchers establishes their value and relevance. The UCR, which began in 1930, has gone through a significant metamorphosis in recent years. One factor that is considered especially important in bringing about changes in the UCR is the national crime victimization survey, which was initiated in 1973 at the recommendation of a Presidential Commission for the purpose of illuminating dark figures of crime in the UCR. The first report of the national crime victimization survey, entitled the National Crime Survey (NCS), reported more than twice the offenses reported by the official crime statistics of the time (Skogan, 1974). The discrepancies between the two indexes raised several questions. Why are the two measures of crime rates so discrepant when they both purport to measure the same social phenomenon known as crime? Which measure is a more valid measure of crime? Will the two measures come together and minimize their divergence over time?

Efforts were made to answer these questions after 1973. The initial focus of researchers was to compare the validity of the two measures of

The term dark figure of crime is a metaphor for the inability of a crime measure to measure what it is meant to measure. The dark figure of crime, as used in this sense, refers to the fraction of crime not measured by a specific index. No measure, be it the UCR or NCVS, can be perfect in the monitoring of all legal wrongdoing.

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