September 2010 Archives

Public Attitudes on Crime and Punishment

PEW's just released study, National Research of Public Attitudes on Crime and Punishment, is must reading for people concerned with correctional reform in the U.S.

The study shows that voters want citizens and communities safe and want offenders to be accountable. In addition: "Voters believe a strong public safety system is possible while reducing the size and cost of the prison system."

The findings detail how much people are willing to release offenders from prison, the high priority they place on funding education over prisons, and how important people view preparing people who are released from prison (since 95% are) to become productive members of society.

Do the PEW findings apply to California? Some data suggests that the answer is yes. For example, the table below is derived from a random sample of Californians as of January, 2010 collected by the PPIC. It shows support for cutting various state agencies in California to reduce the deficit. The data show that nearly 70% of the California public supports cutting prison budgets to reduce the deficit. The public is, however, strongly opposed to cutting budgets in education and health and human services to reduce the deficit.

prison_educ_budget.jpg

Crime and Victimization Data through 2009

People want to know how much crime there is. The data below have been taken from publicly accessible data sources identified in the tables below or in the text.

Police Data. Here are some police data generated from the Uniform Crime Reports, 2009.

Part I or Index Personal/Violent Offenses, 1990-2009:
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Part I or Index Property Offenses, 1990-2009:
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UCR reported offenses cleared by arrest or exceptional means, 2009:
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UCR Arrests, 2009, all offenses and jurisdictions (% of total computed):
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Justifiable homicides by police over time, by time of weapon:
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Justifiable homicides by citizens over time, by type of weapon:
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Victim Data. Latest data (see year on table). Here are some data from National Crime Victim Survey: Americans reporting on how frequently and what kind of victimization they have experienced, as well as whether or not they have reported it to the police. One recent report is Criminal Victimization 2008

Proportion of victims who do/do not report victimization, by offense:
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Why victims report victimization to police:
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Why victims do not report victimization to police:
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Dramatic declines in victimization, 1998-2008 (from Criminal Victimization above):
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Violent personal victimization by gender, race, ethnicity and age:
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Violent personal victimization by race, controlling for gender:
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Victim-offender relationship in violent victimization, by type of crime and gender of victim:
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Self-protective measures taken by victims of violent personal crime, by gender and race
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Property victimization by annual household income:
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Self report data. The third method of measuring crime is by asking those who break the rules. For reasons that are not entirely clear, these kinds of questions are often only asked of juveniles. Today one of the best known self-report program is called Monitoring the Future, which has been collecting data for thirty-six years. At present self report data are collected annually from 8th, 10th and 12th graders. Here's a small sample from the latest survey. A report overview (pdf) is available.

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Some data are available for juveniles and adults on illicit drug use. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted a national survey in 2008 available at this link. The latest data are available in this report. The table below displays marijuana use level by age for the U.S. as a whole:

View table

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