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Methods And Measures




Every one of us has heard, probably in the recent past, about the rising rate of crime. But what is the crime rate in America today? Oddly enough, nobody really knows. Police statistics are our primary source of information about crime. But what do those statistics actually mean? When a police department reports that the crime rate is up, people in the community often react with fear and dismay. But such reports may not reflect an actual increase in crime. Instead they may mean that more criminals are being caught – or they may indicate that more people are reporting crime.

At present we have no truly reliable measure of criminal activity. Many crimes go unreported – rape victims, for example, often are ashamed to talk to the police. The statistics don’t include undetected crimes like bribery of customs officials. And since many crimes are never solved, the number of arrests does not tell us much. For many other crimes, however, arrest seldom leads to conviction. For example, only about one-quarter of all burglaries and auto thefts are “cleared” when a suspect is brought in. Obviously, the official figures conceal a vast reservoir of undetected, unreported, and unrecorded crime.

According to the most conservative estimate, one in every ten people is a victim of a crime each year – a figure 400 percent higher than that reported by the police.

Dramatic as these estimates are, they’re probably still too low. Surveys of victims are valuable – both in theory and in practice. From a theoretical standpoint, improved surveys will make it possible to relate the experience of being a victim to various sociological factors – such as income, education, and race – as well as to such psychological factors as fare of crime and attitude toward law enforcement. In other words, it should be possible to get a good picture of the victim. And perhaps we’ll find out whether some people are more likely than others to be the targets of crime.

From a practical standpoint, the survey should give us some accurate information on crime rates. When an increase in crime is reported, the average citizen often concludes that the police aren’t doing their job. In fact, the opposite is often true. A low crime rate may simply mean that the police are overlooking a good deal of criminal activity. Surveys on victimization could give the public the better picture of what the police are actually doing about crime.

5.2.3 Прочитайте следующие высказывания и исправьте неверные высказывания в соответствие с содержанием текста:

1. The crime rate is decreasing in America.

2. Police statistics give real figures of the number of crimes.




3. When a police report that the crime rate is up people feel happy.

4. When a police department reports that the crime rate is up it really means that it has increased.

5. Nowadays we have reliable information on criminal activity.

6. Briberies of customs officials are usually undetected.

7. Many crimes are never solved.

8. Many rape victims don’t talk to the police.

9. The number of arrests tells much about the crime rate.

10. Arrest always leads to conviction.

11. Some people are more likely to be victims than others.

12. A low crime rate always means that the police are doing their job well

5.2.4 Заполните пропуски в предложениях следующими словами:

increasing measure victims statistics arrest social accurate reflect bribery relate likely real criminals unreported

1. Nobody knows the ….. statistics of crime rate.

2. Police statistics may not ….. the real number of crimes.

3. The …… number of crimes may mean that more are being caught.

4. We have no reliable …… of criminal activity.

5. Many crimes are ……..

6. Many …… are ashamed to talk to the police.

1. Crime statistics don’t include …… of customs officials.

2. For some crimes …… doesn’t lead to conviction.

3. Improved surveys can …… the fact of being a victim with some …… characteristics.

4. Some people are more …… to become victims than others.

5. The survey could give us some ……. information on crime rates.

6. Sometimes ……. show that the police are overlooking much of criminal activity.

5.2.5 Прокомментируйте следующие высказывания:

1. Ill-gotten goods never prosper.

2. If the cap fits, wear it.

3. Providence sees to it that no man gets happiness out of crim.

4. Whoever profits by the crime is guilty of it.

5. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker it breeds contempt for it.

6. Every unpunished murder takes away something from the security of every man’s life.






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