Definition of Crime Rate

Written by rod howell
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"Crime rate" is a major statistical tool utilised by every faction of law enforcement. It gives a picture of how crime is either growing or slowing down in particular areas. It also details which crimes are committed and by whom, using several factors such as race, educational background and social class. This data is very important when decisions are being made to use taxpayer funds to help fight crime or when families are choosing safer environments for their homes.

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The Facts

Crime rate is a count of crimes complied to assess the effectiveness of a crime control policy and the impact of the policy on the risk of crime victimisation. The FBI and the Department of Justice compiles the statistical data based on the information given to them by law agencies around the country. In 2007, there were 1,408,337 violent crimes committed in the U.S.

Types

Overall crime is grouped into one major statistic. Crimes are then grouped by different categories based on a number of factors, including sex crimes such as rape, sexual assault and harassment. Major crimes are broken down to violent crimes such murders, rape, robberies, assaults, theft and kidnapping. There are also racial and societal crime categories such as crimes committed by African Americans, Hispanics and Whites as well as white collar and blue collar employees. Age and educational backgrounds are also used in determining specific crime rates. Other crimes that are monitored are hate crimes, crimes against property such as vandalism or theft, discrimination and crimes against law enforcement.

Benefits

Understanding crime rates allows our government to focus on areas where crime is a major disruption. People who analyse crime rates can make judgments about where to live, raise their families or open a business. Although most laws to fight crime have come from requests by law officials, laws such as the Amber Alert, Megan's Law and the Sex Offender Registry have come about from individual cases that garnered national attention.

Significance

Crime rates have altered our way of life in several ways. City populations have either grown or have been depleted because of the level of criminal activity present. Government resources have been allocated to the areas in need of more presence by the law. Crimes and behaviours resulting from alcohol and drug activity have spurred major federal programs aimed at deterring minors from using or dealing in these harmful substances.

Warning

A crime rate is a statistical data of incidents that are reported. Crime rates don't detail the number of crimes that go unreported due to victimisation or intimidation. Also, the major crime data is composed from populations of 100,000 or more people. Small towns and suburban areas are included, but the crimes committed in these tiny areas may not be well represented. Another concern is that these reports are voluntarily submitted to the FBI, meaning some criminal activity is not accounted for.

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