Even simple crimes such as an assault or theft reflect the complex interaction and influence of many different persons and conditions.To understand different types of crime we need to know a great deal about different aspects of the situations within which crimes typically occur. Of central importance is greater knowledge of the characteristics of offenders.... Much can be learned from the statistics now collected independently about offenders . . . for various administrative purposes. However, lack of knowledge of their interrelationships prohibits the development of more informative and useful statistical reconstructions of criminal events. This type of information must be secured more systematically if greater understanding of the different conditions under which crimes occur is to be achieved.
There is a common belief that the general population consists of a large group of law-abiding people and a small body of criminals. However, studies have shown that most people, when they are asked, remember having committed offenses for which they might have been sentenced if they had been apprehended. 1____________________