Ways Departments Categorize Crime Lu Human Mistak

Ways Departments Categorize Crime Lu Human Mistak

Ways Departments Categorize Crime Lu Human Mistak

Please respond to the 2 following discussion post responses with 200 words each, 1 cited references and 1 cited biblical viewpoint.

This is the original post, this is for you to read to understand what we were discussing. You do NOT have to respond to this: After reading Chapter 4 of the Mosher textbook, what are some of the differences in using official crime data as discussed in Chapter 3 of the Mosher textbook and Self-Reported Data in Chapter 4? What are the particular strengths and weakness of each of these types of data sources?

1. Emanuel Dobbs- According to the textbook (Mosher, 2011), the primary advantage of self-report studies is that individuals’ information regarding their behavior is not filtered through any official or judicial process. Self-reported data measures of crime are subject to the same constraints found more generally in survey research. Criticisms regarding the adequacy or accuracy of self-report and victimization data have as much, if not more, to do with how the data are collected than with what those data might tell us about crime and criminals.

This study method is also subject to human error. In order to anticipate and understand these criticisms, the textbook addresses that at the core, “evaluating any survey and the data derived from it revolves around two central issues (Phillips, Mosher, & Kabel, 2000):

1. Were the right people asked the right questions?

2. Did they answer truthfully?” (Mosher, 2011).

These are the basis of the sources of error in survey research before discussing specific self-report studies of crime. Therefore, in survey research terminology for self-reported data, two issues expand into “four sources of total survey error: coverage error, sampling error, nonresponse error, and measurement error” (Mosher, 2011). These are most commonly encountered interviewing the participants.

It’s still highly imperative to use official crime data for policing as it serves many benefactors that not only ease the work for law enforcement. But both seem to face similar flaws. We first can’t control the emotional state of the information obtained by the member interviewed or their state of mind, but both methods make face-to-face interaction available. There are direct correlations to the expressed hardships from both self-reported data and official crime data. Both sides obtain data on different premises. Official crime data is often obtained after the crime has been recorded (if recorded accurately). Self-reported data relies on the interactions and the interview. At the same time, the perspective of the person driving the study can influence bias and create selective data collection. For example, the work of James Short and Ivan Nye, briefly discussed in Chapter 2 (Mosher, 2011), is an informative example of both the strengths and weaknesses of self-report data on illegal activities. While non-institutionalized adolescents were the targeted population behind the research, “because they seem likely to be more representative of the general population than are college or training school populations,” Short and Nye (1958, p. 297) drew their samples from public high schools, administering an anonymous questionnaire to these students” (Mosher, 2011). This highlights a sampling & coverage error on behalf of the researcher. Likewise, there could be non-response errors, where the person to be interviewed disconnects, and a measurement error where the data isn’t accurate and precise, which formulates inconsistencies. Additionally, “once reported, official records are also influenced by whether an incident makes it into the official record” (Bachman, 2008). Furthermore, “response bias itself can be problematic in programme evaluation and research but is especially troublesome when it causes a recalibration of bias after an intervention” (Rosenman, 2011). Recalibration of standards can cause a particular type of measurement bias known as ‘response-shift bias, which can affect the data.

Finally, official crime data collection methods seem to be less time-consuming by using technology and databases. Interviews are still possible, but information collection can be drawn from a vast digital medium source. Self-reported data isn’t guaranteed; the person might not be home, might not answer the phone or email.

Both official crime data and self-reported data work the best side by side in a study. They get the perspective of the person within that environment and correlate the official crime records to better determine how their response manifests in conjunction with the data collected. Therefore, using both simultaneously can bring validity and reliability to the research.

From a Biblical perspective, it’s essential to create a sense of trust in the community. It’s the most effective hands-on approach to obtain precise, accurate data in public. Therefore, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says it best, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him; a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Biblica, 2021). The trust factor is emphasized in the verse, just as the researcher must trust the community or the area surveyed. Have a clear purpose and help your audience understand your intentions from the beginning. Submerge within the culture and become one with them to make sure that the data collected is sound and accurate, especially if your study will benefit their well-being.


Bachman, R., & Schutt, R. K. (2008). Fundamentals of research in criminology and criminal justice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Biblica, (2021). The holy bible. NIV. colorado springs, CO. Retrieved January 20, 2021, from https://www.biblehub.com/niv/

Rosenman, R., Tennekoon, V., & Hill, L. (2011, October). Measuring bias in self-reported data. Retrieved January 20, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4224297/

Mosher, C. J., Miethe, T. D., & Hart, T. C. (2011). The mismeasure of crime. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications.

2) Sierra Rebal- Looking at official crime data we can always rely on the UCR, while looking at self-reported crime we can look at the NCVS. Both have their own purposes. NCVS and UC data can be used in complementary ways to explore why trends in reported and police-recorded crime may differ (FBI, 2015). The NCVS reports are done through confidential questionnaires and look at the dark figure of crime or that not reported like crime with the UCR. In essence, self-reported crime allows us a look into crimes that may have been committed regardless of if the police knew. The reliability of the NCVS depends on several factors, some of those factors include the population being reached and the understandability of the questions being asked on the survey. Those who conduct NCVS data do so in a way that reaches a multitude of populations in that they vary. To produce estimates for a wide range of victimizations the NCVS uses a classical area sampling design, with selection using multiple stages with stratification and clustering (NCBI, 2014). While the UCR has historically been more accurate in data collection because it is reported directly from police departments across the nation over time it has been found there are flaws with this reporting system too. Some of the ways departments categorize crime may differ from how another department would categorize. Some of this discrepancy comes in part because of political pressure to have lower crime rates so departments downgrade the true amount of crime being reported. In comparison with this, the NCVS to has it’s flaws but has become more reliable. With a strain in the police-society relationship people may be more prone to report crime on a survey than they would to their local police. While the two forms of crime data collection vary greatly from each other they can compliment the way in which they impact department’s such as funding and staffing. Proverbs 28:5 says, “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.” We as Christians can seek justice through data and follow what God has planned for us to help others.


FBI (2015) The nation’s two crime measures. Retrieved from https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in… =In%20addition%20to%20providing%20annual,reported%20to%20law%20enforcement%20authorities.

NCBI (2014) Estimating the incidence of rape and sexual assault. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK202265/