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Sunday, 31 January 2010

More on the dark figure

I realise that I have not posted a blog for over a week. The reason is that I have started a far more detailed analysis of another London borough. I hope to publish some of the findings on this blog in the next few weeks.

Getting back to my discussion of fear of crime. I have explained what the dark figure is and hinted that it can be measured. This is done by victimisation surveys. The British Crime Survey is carried out to provide this and other information by questioning members of the public about their experience of crime and disorder and the police. Through statistical sampling techniques and extrapolation an independent count of crimes that have individuals or households as victims can be calculated. This count is then compared with the police recorded crime figures. Logically the BCS figures should be higher than the police recorded crime figure because, as I have discussed, not all crime is reported or discovered by police and even if it is it is not necessarily counted. The difference between the two sets of statistics therefore is a measurement of the dark figure.

The dark figure can be expressed as a percentage of "total" crime. This percentage varies with different types of crime. For instance theft of vehicles have a low percentage due to the necessity to report the crime to police before making an insurance claim whereas sex crimes tend to have a large percentage dark figure.

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