Friday, July 6, 2012

Numbers and perception...

In 2011, the crime rate as reported in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report went down in Greenville by more than 16%.  The crime rate is the ratio of crimes to the population in an area; expressed per 100,000  population per year. It is the most accurate manner in which to compare jurisdictions of varying populations. It is also the most accurate manner in which to compare the crime in an individual jurisdiction over time because it takes into account changes in that jurisdiction’s population.

Each year when the previous year’s crime numbers are released by the NC SBI, they are given in raw numbers; that is the total number of index crimes reported to the police – not as the crime rate.

These raw numbers can easily be misinterpreted as the crime rate and may be reported as an increase or decrease in the crime rate.

To best understand crime trends, we should study the trend experienced over a number of years; not comparing just one year to the previous.

Actual numbers and rates tell the facts about crime trends.  A community's perceptions about crime are just as likely to be affected by sensational news or singular events that draw attention to issues; a high profile incident or particularly violent crime for instance can lead people to assume the worst. 

Police Departments everywhere work to reduce actual numbers, but they also work to affect the perception of crime and the perception of safety in the community.  By comunicating openly with people and by involving citizens in the policing process,  law enforcement agencies  try to educate the community about the realities of crime and the work being done to make the community safer.


No comments:

Post a Comment