BCJ 2000 Unit 1 Assessment

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Question 1: What is the purpose of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), and how are they used? (200 words in length)

The National Crime Victimization Survey is an annual survey of selected American households conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics to determine the extent of criminal victimization, especially those that were reported in the United States. NCVS began collecting data in 1972. It is different from the FBI programs because the data contained in the NCVS consist of information from interviews with members of randomly selected households throughout the nation. NCVS ask interviewers about the incidence of rape, personal robbery, aggravated and simple assault, household burglary, personal and household theft, and motor vehicle theft as they affected household members in the past six months. Then information such as sex, age, race, ethnicity, marital status, income, and educational level. They also gather information on the offender, nature of injury to the victim, and economic consequences of the criminal activity for the victim. Questions also asked about protective measures that the victim used, if the offender was using substances, and the number of times the victim has had to deal with the criminal justice system.

The Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) is an FBI statistical reporting program that provides an annual summation of the incidence and rate of reported crimes throughout the United States. It was created by the FBI in 1929 as an official crime data gathering program covering the entire United States. The goal of this programs was to create a set of uniform crime statistics for use by the police agencies and lawmakers. In the beginning of the program the date was structured in the terms of seven major offense categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. These crimes, called the part 1 offenses, formed the FBI’s crime index. The crime index provided a crime rate that could be compared over time from one geographic location to another. The most significant feature of UCR program is indicated by its name. It is a reporting program. Only crimes that are reported to the police or by others who then report them to the police) are included in the statistics compiled by the program. Most complaints are made by victims.

Question 2: Compare and contrast the classical and neoclassical schools of criminology. Do you believe that one school of criminology is more relevant than the other? Explain your answer. (200 words in length)

Classical criminology was founded in the mid-19th century by two utilitarian philosophers, Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Beccaria. They argued that crime was a matter of free will and rational self-interest and could be defined precisely by law; they also insisted that proportionate, swift punishment would deter crime. Classical criminology assumes that people who commit crimes make a rational choice to do so based on the pleasure they hope will result and will choose not to commit crimes if they know there is a strong chance they will experience pain instead.

Neoclassical criminology defines crime more broadly as actions that offend against a shared understanding of morality. It added an analysis of environmental factors beyond rational self-interest. In neoclassical thinking, it is possible to do more to deter crime than just to catch and punish criminals; the environment can be changed in ways that make crime less likely to occur. Neoclassical criminologists sought to explain crime as a result of problems such as poverty, low intelligence or family structure.

I don’t believe one school of criminology is better than the other because I think both of them work together to help understand why a person commits a crime. Whether the crime is intentional or not can be defined by one set of rules. There are many factors that contribute too many people committing crimes. Some of them are accidental and the accused had no control over what happened in the situation but still have to pay for the consequences of their actions in some way. Crime are not just based on problems in poverty or low intelligence. There have been millionaires that grew up in high society that have committed crimes that people in poverty have committed. There is not one category someone can get placed in because of where they live. Every person and every crime is different from the one before.

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