Criminological theory is a useful concept that aids in understanding the dynamics of criminal justice system as well as the major actors in the system. It can explain a crime and its implications for a large social unit, individual unit or a smaller social unit. This necessitates for vital criminal statistics that can help the criminologists to arrive at facts that can be useful in the long run. The statistics used in criminal justice can be enlightening and are used as a reliable basis for the discerning patterns in offence as well as suggesting associations. Criminologists also use the statistical data to make causal statements pertinent to the variables being researched. The paper will substantiate the relationship between statistical data and criminological theory and discuss how the data can be used in supporting or refuting criminological theory.
Relationship between Criminological Theory and Statistical Data
The realm of criminological theory pertains to the study of frequency as well as the dynamics of crime occurrences. However, the theory is embedded on statistical data in the sense that criminologists need to pay attention on what is not comprised in criminological modelling (Gau, 2015). Statistics are useful in the provision of police’s as well as other criminal justice agencies’ work outcomes. This is vital in making major advances in understanding offence. Criminologists have adopted various methods of study that measure and assess the crime rate over time and place.
This is where the statistics prove to be useful because they also measure criminals’ characteristics, offence occurrences and the nature of the victims involved. For instance, criminologists have proved that the occurrences of certain acts such as petty crimes are mostly orchestrated by women. In this regard, they do not pose serious recidivist problems which might be detrimental towards the society (Walker & Maddan, 2013). Therefore, the fact that women are not a pressing social problem implies that their criminality does not receive significant support.
Statistical data can be used to support or refute criminological theory because crime reports and statistics convey a wide assortment of information pertinent to offence incidents such as police involvement, crime location and victim injury. Most of these reports also contain information on gender, race, age, and gang membership of the people involved. Moreover, statistics offered in crime reports give a description of offence as it pertains to different geographical regions (Gau, 2015). In addition, statistics can also describe crimes in a static manner by providing a dynamic perspective on how misdeeds change over time.
The statistical data can be used to support or refute criminological theory in the sense that certain crimes have been attributed to a particular group of people. The information that certain kinds of individuals are more vulnerable to specific offences is obtained from statistics that have been previously checked by criminologists. Therefore, supporting or refuting certain criminological theory becomes easier. The information is compiled by recording the offender as a unit subject to classification. The crime indexes are also based on specific data (Gau, 2015). The data can also be used in supporting or refuting criminological theory because of the existing relationship between race and offence. Criminologists acknowledge the fact that geographical area that is racially diverse is more prone to high crime rates compared to racially homogenous areas.
However, the statistics in this docket vary depending on the country of origin. Having such statistics can refute criminological theory in the case where high crime occurrences are orchestrated in ethnical homogenous areas (Walker & Maddan, 2013). However, the criminologists have to be careful in drawing the line between the validity of available statistics and the vulnerability of isolated occurrences. In fact, when the number of cases observed is large, it will repay the effort through the application of variable factors control in the quest for demonstrating finality. The essence here is that crime reports can be used in either conveying information that affects a population or sharing offence-related information on the subset of a victim. Statistical data can also be used in refuting or supporting criminal data because they rely on causation which examines and interprets trends (Walker & Maddan, 2013). This is an imperative aspect as it also helps criminologists in looking at what they can do to prevent crime as well as determining the underlying causes of offences.
The pros of using statistics in criminological theory are that they provide numerous ways of obtaining data which are useful in many aspects of the society. In addition, criminologists can get valid and reliable data that are always useful in the realm of their field. However the cons of employing the statistical data are that they necessitate for statistics and certain measurements which might be skewed, exaggerated or inaccurate. The other thing is that smaller crimes tend to be foregone as criminologists place emphasis on research pertinent to major offences. An apt example is shoplifting which is an incident that is not often reported.
Therefore, the police look down on the investigations of such crimes (Walker & Maddan, 2013). There have also been cases of predicaments where statistics fail to give an accurate reading on offence. In such case, survey methods such as self-report studies and victimization can be applicable as they are more effective in gathering unreported crime statistics. Victimization studies revolve around inquiring whether people have been misdeed victims while self-report studies ask people of offences they committed.
Statistics play an important role in supporting or refuting criminological theory thus laying a foundation for creation of future crime prevention programs. The statistics also help criminologists in analyzing the relationship between different social variables such as poverty, age and educational level. Moreover, even though statistical data are useful in criminological theory, there are situations where they fail to give an accurate reading on crime.