Re: Race and Crime and crime statistics

Andy Skreija (skreija@CWIS.UNOMAHA.EDU)
Thu, 20 Oct 1994 10:34:46 -0500

Regarding "skewing" of crine data. All the studies I know of show that
crime data is systematically skewed in all countries. First of all there
are large differences betwen types of crimes reported, e.g., rapes and
murders are underreported in the US (never mind the Carribean!).
Secondly, we know that even when the police investigate a "crime" they
tend to classify it according to how the initial report was made, never
mind the facts! Lastly, crimes are legal and cultural constructs and emic
categories. Murder does not happen, someone is dead and the various
authorities decide how that is to be interpreted, was it an accident,
suicide, justifiable homicide, maslaughter, murder I, or II etc., just to
use the US possibilities. Even a naive anthropologist should know that to
take official statistics at face value at best has entertainment value for
those reading the work. Another example of GIGO!