Crime data also referred to as crime statistics are statistics and reports of specific crimes that are indexed in the annual uniform crime report by the FBI. The Uniform Crime Reporting program is very resourceful to law enforcement, the news reporters and the general masses in as far as seeking crime information is concerned. The UCR program is also crucial in guiding the policy makers in formulating policies that will prevent crime.
Currently, in the United States, there are four annual publication that provides crime data. These publications provide a wide range of criminal data touching on assault, rape and even hate crimes. They provide adequate information in which policies can be formulated and action is taken based on information and research.
Crime data is indispensable in trying to ascertain the causes of crime such as greed, revenge, poverty, racism, lack of proper morals among the youth among others in a country. It then forms a basis and a guide for crime reduction and prevention. Since crime data incorporates murder, rape, robberies, property crime, cargo theft, human trafficking, arsons instances, among others, the government can focus on the bigger picture of the general situation in the country. The government can know which areas of the society that need the most attention. With this knowledge, government agencies can direct their efforts and resources in combating crime more effectively.
Data on crime that goes unreported in prisons can aid in the making of policies and reforms that will protect those people living behind bars. A lot of crime and violence take place in prisons, but the incidents are never reported. It is common to hear of rape cases, physical abuse, jail fights and even murder in prisons. The Department of Justice chooses to exclude the bulk of this violence in the correctional facilities. If all crimes in prisons could be accounted for, then we would have a realistic picture of the crime rates in the United States. This would inform policy makers to come up with sound policy measures that not only reduce the crime rates in the correctional facilities but also boost the quality and safety of prisoners (Voorhees, 2014).
Data on crime will also help in the creation of suitable methods of punishing criminals. The methods will be effective in reducing future crimes since they would be based on research. In the 1970s, rehabilitation programs were largely abandoned and death penalty reinstated due to lack of proper data. The reinstatement of the death penalty was based on mere sentiments. However, towards the beginning of the 21st century, empirical research from criminologists suggested that rehabilitation programs were more effective in reducing future crime rates and hence rehabilitation was reinstated (Thomas, 2017)
Data on crimes can be leveraged upon in ascertaining the most effective policing strategies. Research on police responses to domestic violence showed that arresting the offenders reduced the rate of such crimes in particular areas while it led to increasing domestic violence in other areas (Thomas, 2017).
Therefore, the data on police responses to different crimes is key in establishing what works best for a particular place. This will enable the security departments to be more effective in combating crime.
Data on the demography of the population in a country could be used to reduce future crime rates by targeting certain groups of people that are likely to engage in criminal behavior. Social policies that focus on reduction of factors that would increase the likelihood of crimes within a certain group of people could be formulated (Thomas, 2017). It would require detailed information on various crimes committed and the people who commit them. For instance, programmed that have been directed to low-income young mothers, which include prenatal care and home visits, are known to reduce the rate of child delinquency when the child becomes a teenager
Criminal justice data that records how the police execute their mandate will help in generation of policies that improve the accountability among public officials and improve the way the criminal justice functions. Data on criminal justice department can reveal the mode of operation and justice delivery within the justice system. Doing so will help invent policies that will improve on justice delivery such as convicting the guilty promptly and conclusively having fair hearings with a consistent mode of punishment. (Reynolds, 1984). Policies that ensure punishment deals with the crime and not the criminal will be formulated guided by the data from the UCR.
Areas of similarities in crime fighting problems could be identified and shared across different departments and ministries and hence come up with solutions. The results will be better due to the synergy and combination of skills, expertise, and resources (Sibley, 2015)
The data from the UCR will guide the law enforcement to create and fund local community development projects that will be critical in the reduction of crimes. Such community development projects will be information based and will be more efficient hence consuming fewer resources (Sibley, 2015)
The media on its part will be able to report crimes based on the context that will reduce the spread of false information, propaganda and fake news since data will be readily available. This has the potential to reduce and prevent drastic negative social effects that could be an as result of reporting crimes out of context (Sibley, 2015). Social Policies regarding the use of social media will be formulated and implemented to ensure that these platforms are not used to propagate and perpetuate crime. All this can be implemented if there is enough data on these areas.
Crime data inform social policies that will aim at reducing immorality and increase personal qualities and virtues such as honesty, integrity, foresight, and self-reliance. These policies include the introduction of strict disciplining in schools (Reynolds, 1984).
Reynolds, M. (1984). How to reduce crime. Foundation for Economic Education. Retrieved from www.fee.org/articles/how-to-reduce-crime/Sibley, R. (2015). The Benefits of Criminal Justice Data: Beyond Policing. Sunlight Foundation. Retrieved from www.sunlightfoundation.com/2015/05/01/the-benefits-of-criminal-justice-data-beyond-policing/
Thomas, J. Donald, C. Nicholas, A. (2017). Crime and Social Policy. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved from www.britannica.com/topic/crime-law/crime-and-social-policyVoorhees, J. (2014). A City of Convicts. Slate. Retrieved from www.slate.com/articles/news-and-politics/politics/2014/06/prison_crime_rate_the_u_s_violent_crime_rate_is_falling_partly_because_the.html
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