Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Touching 'The Untouchables' -It'd Be a Crime Not to Book(mark) This Confidential Informant

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Touching 'The Untouchables' -It'd Be a Crime Not to Book(mark) This Confidential Informant

Article excerpt

Crime is, alas, always local, and our newsrooms are constantly hungry for new facts and figures to help us understand criminals and the justice system. The Internet has been a boon to police reporters, providing direct links to data from state and national crime-fighters, and now a new online gateway promises to take us to the next level of cyberspace reporting.

Actually, though, if you've been on any of the criminal-justice beats for a while, you may already know these good people from their pre-Web days. The "Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics" has been compiled since 1973 by researchers at the University of Albany. It is the product of a collaboration between the Utilization of Criminal Justice Statistics Project and the Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center.

What's new is that the "Sourcebook" has come to the Web. Visit the site at http:// www.albany.edu/sourcebook, where a text introduction explains the organization of the electronic edition, then provides links to six broad topic areas:

* Characteristics of the criminal justice systems, with information on the numbers and types of agencies, including their employees, expenditures, and workloads, as well as state-by-state data.

* Public attitudes toward crime and criminal justice-related topics, featuring results of recent opinion polls on subjects such as fear of victimization, police performance, the death penalty, gun control, and drug abuse.

* Nature and distribution of known offenses, archiving indicators of the extent of illegal activities around the nation, with surveys of victims and law-enforcement agencies among them.

* Characteristics and distribution of persons arrested, with tables of arrestees by age, sex, race, and geographical area, categories of crimes, and counts of illegal assets seized. …

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