Examining the Paradox of Crime Reporting: Are Disadvantaged Victims More Likely to Report to the Police?

By Zaykowski, Heather; Campagna, Lena M. et al. | Law & Society Review, January 1, 2019 | Go to article overview

Examining the Paradox of Crime Reporting: Are Disadvantaged Victims More Likely to Report to the Police?


Zaykowski, Heather, Campagna, Lena M., Allain, Erin Cournoyer, Law & Society Review


1.Introduction

Reporting crime to the police is well established as a critical issue for the administration of justice. Most crimes become known to the police through victims, witnesses, or other citizens. In traditional practice, the police react to criminal events rather than proactively prevent them. Police rely heavily on both public knowledge and their assistance to become aware that a crime even occurred. Thus, without public cooperation, the police may be unable to maintain public safety (Skogan 1984; Tyler and Fagan 2008; Whitaker 1980). Police notification can also benefit victims by providing them with information about services that can help address socioemotional problems and other needs arising from victimization (Zaykowski 2014). Disadvantaged groups face greater risk of victimization than more affluent and structurally advantaged groups, and consequently may benefit the most from police protection and access to victim services (Desmond et al. 2016; Harrell 2007; Sered 2014). However, multiple studies reveal that many crimes are never reported to the police. Recent estimates indicate that fewer than half of all nonfatal violent crimes are reported (Morgan and Truman 2018).

Many explorations of the gap in reported and unreported crimes focus on crime severity (i.e., injury, use of weapons, greater perceived harm and more expensive property loss) as a key motivator for mobilizing the police (Baumer and Lauritsen 2010; Conaway and Lohr 1994; Goudriaan et al. 2006; Kaukinen 2004; McCart et al. 2010; Skogan 1984). At the same time, this body of literature has predominantly ignored explaining why certain groups may be less likely to report similar crimes, which is an arguably more important concern (for a notable exception, see e.g., Xie and Lauritsen 2012). Other research finds that marginalized groups such as racial and ethnic minorities and lower-class individuals hold more cynical attitudes toward the police as a result of negative personal and vicarious encounters (Anderson 1999; Berg et al. 2016; Brown and Reed Benedict 2002; Carr et al. 2007; Nadal et al. 2017; Sampson and Bartusch 1998), so it would not be surprising that these groups would also be unlikely to call the police for assistance when victimized (Desmond etal. 2016).

Nonetheless, despite evidence pointing to strained relationships between marginalized groups and the police, research suggests that social marginality is not related to reporting or may be associated with greater police mobilization in some circumstances. Findings on the relationship between race and class and reporting have been mixed, though the majority of research finds that females are more likely than males to report (Baumer Eric 2002; Berg et al. 2013; Felson et al. 1999; Tarling and Morris 2010; Wolitzky-Taylor et al. 2011; Zavala 2010). Recent studies have highlighted possible reasons for reporting among marginalized groups, including lack of other alternatives (Bell 2016; Xie and Baumer 2019; Xie and Lauritsen 2012). This research has also found that negative attitudes toward the police can be superseded by instrumental concerns such as immediate need for help (Hagan et al. 2018; Slocum 2018). This literature points to a potential paradox that despite holding cynical attitudes toward the police, some marginalized groups may actually be more likely to seek their help than people who are indifferent or have favorable views of the police.

Although there has been growing evidence of this paradox, research to date has not adequately addressed how reporting to the police varies across social groups within the context of criminal victimization. Questions still remain due to conflicting findings in prior research, particularly with regard to the relationship between race and class and reporting. This paper seeks to demonstrate that using an intersectional lens can resolve mixed findings regarding race and class by addressing the differing structural positions of women and men, including their relationships to economic and social control institutions (Anderson 1999; Bell 2016; Goffman 2009; Rios 2011). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Examining the Paradox of Crime Reporting: Are Disadvantaged Victims More Likely to Report to the Police?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.