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Monday, 19 July 2010

Just a little bit more on violence and recorded crime

I am going to write another post about police recorded crime and then shut-up for a bit on this subject (unless provoked) and write about the geographic clustering of crime, disorder and policing data - the area that I have been working on recently.

Firstly why is the way police recorded crime is collated and classified important to me? I have a tendency to look at how such things are organised and say that's rubbish and try to reorganise things more logically. The end result may be an improvement but will inevitably have caveats and compromises which need to be explained, and basically it is a big job to do. So I am trying to adopt a more mature attitude and work within the given system. You may notice that I have used  Home Office (HO) Crime Type 1 - violent crime against the person when analysing relationships with deprivation. Let me explain the HO Crime Types. If you look at Table 2.04 on pages 31- 35 of this document you will see the police recorded crimes listed. If you really get into the subject you really need to also look at the counting rules here. There are 9 HO Crime Types:
  1. Violence against the Person
  2. Sexual Offences
  3. Robbery
  4. Burglary
  5. Theft and Handling Stolen Goods
  6. Fraud and Forgery
  7. Criminal Damage
  8. Drug Offences
  9. Other Offences
When this list was first compiled, probably over 30 years ago it may have made perfect sense but in that time there have been a miriade of new offences and legislation. The main problem regarding violence is the heiracy of classification gives priority to legislation over whether the crime involved violence. This means that crimes that include violence against the person in their definitions - sexual assaults, robberies, aggravated burglary and aggravated vehicle taking, and others where it is often involved, e.g. kidnapping,  rape, arson endangering life are not included in the first category. More bizaarly for the uninitiated is that the most serious public order offences such as riot and violence disorder are not included in the first category but the less serious ones are (under without injury). This is because the more serious offences are not specifically violence against people but violence against everything. In the same way indiscriminate violence such as bombing  is hidden in the criminal damage type. Terrorism offences seem to be totally excluded. I could go on but you get the message, a review is long overdue.

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