Strengths and Weaknesses of Sources of Crime Data

Strengths and Weaknesses of Sources of Crime Data

Sources of data have been explored to improve policing and police-community relations. The data collected on crime is one of the most unreliable and difficult of all the statistics due to reasons like the records kept for the crimes usually reported  interfere with police policies, court policies, as well as public opinion.

There are two well-known sources of crime data; the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) (MSU, 2014). These sources have both their strengths and weaknesses. The strengths of UCR are that is an important source of criminal data that is used in some ways; it helps to strengthen the local community development efforts by taking part in the operations of law enforcement. Another benefit, the researchers of criminal justice use the UCR to study the patterns of crimes so that they can make predictions and find means to improve this system dealing with criminal justice. UCR weaknesses revolve around the police being considered as a big deal. It reports crimes only reported by the police, it reports more on how the police conducts himself rather than about criminality in that when a citizen reports a crime, the police must make an official record of the crime so that UCR can consider it.

NCVS on the other side deals with adversity because of someone considered a victim. Its strength is; the data helps the criminologists to have a better understanding as to why so many victims do not understand why crime matter to the police. The weaknesses involved with this source is a limitation in scope which represents a small fraction of crimes. The major crimes that take place each day do not fall into this category. NCVS also suffers from several types of errors such as sampling error and errors of deception since their responses tend to be defenseless because they are based on the answers given by the people. A weakness identified by another source that is Self-Report Survey is that they often exclude serious habitual offenders since the survey always samples out a specific population of people.




Michigan State University, (2014). Criminal justice: Data and statistics. Retrieved from


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