Importance of Crime Rate For a Country

Nancy B. Alston

The Crime Rate of any country is an official statistic that reflects certain particular defining points for a country. The nature and the general motives behind the crime is usually immaterial, and statisticians rarely concern themselves with value-oriented appraisal of data. Instead, the crime rate of a country is usually decided on the number of officially lodged cases of crime, collated over a period of usually a year.

Qualitative judgments rarely influence the statistic in a country, and hence, a petty case of thievery would effectively influence the statistic as much as a capital crime. The thing to note about these statistics within a particular time-frame is that the compilation process is usually based on official criminal reports and investigations. Hence, crime statistics often tend to overlook unofficial instances of criminal activities, and unreported/unproven crimes.

The Crime rate is often considered to be an extremely important index to judge the welfare and the quality/standard of living within a particular country. Usually, such records for a particular country are gathered, collated and published by global agencies like the Interpol and the U.N law-keeping corps. Such surveys can be unbiased reportage of particularly prevalent crime trends within any country, thereby serving as a generalized index for law and order within a country.

However, the statistic alone is not a completely reflective tool that could be directly applied to ascertain the social conditions of every economy. Typically, these ‘statistics’ don’t really show the amount of human-rights violation and subversion of human rights as perpetrated by the state. Hence, state-sponsored acts of terrorism, dictatorial violence and instances of political violence often go unincorporated within the official crime-statistic of an economy.

Usually, the collection and collation of data to build crime databases follow some particular assortment procedures. When done within domestic boundaries, like the FBI (the Federal Bureau of Investigation) in America, which is directly under Homeland Security, enforcement reports form only a part of it.

The computation is usually a demographic-tabulation exercise, where crimes committed within particular blocks, or districts or states are considered. These reports are then verified against known records of criminal offences/ reported legal violations, records of convicts and records/statements filed by victims. Usually, the crime index for a particular year is the weighed-average of these three reports, and generally is reflective of the success of various police departments/enforcement agencies.

Although the crime rate is generally reflective of the official enforcement status and law-and-order scene, they have to be carefully verified for accuracy in some cases. There are numerous criminal cases like traffic violations, petty skirmishes and cases of bribery etc. which might be under-reported by the local police authorities. Every instance of criminal activity could only be reported and included in the crime rate statistic after the process of conviction, or some parallel solution has been reached, and the case is no longer sub-judice.

Addition of these cases, many of which might take years before they are resolved, to the crime statistics of subsequent years may be a tad difficult. Hence, the criminal activities index is most often an unbiased, but more often that not, a slightly exhausting and flawed system of reporting the law-and-order situation in any country.

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