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The Importance of the Dark Figure While Examining Statistics on Crime

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Furthermore, Sutherland defined ‘white-collar crime as a crime committed by a person of espectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.’ Finally, the relationship of these to gender and their importance in the examination of statistics is investigated before concluding.In 1981, the British Crime Survey (BCS) estimated around 11 million crimes in England and Wales. But there were only less than 3 million crimes recorded by the police. The gap between the estimated and the actual number recorded by the police is called the “dark figure” of crime. The common reasons given for not reporting crimes are that the incidents involved no loss or are too trivial, and believed that there was nothing the police can do. According to authors Hough and Mayhew, ‘for those categories for which comparison was possible, the survey indicated a considerably greater number of incidents than did Criminal Statistics. Only for one category – thefts of motor vehicles – were the figures similar. For example, the survey indicated twice as many burglaries as were recorded by the police.’BCS is a victimization survey that measures the amount of crime in England and Wales by asking people about crimes they have experienced in the previous year. Aside from the BCS, the police also have recorded crime figures that provide a measure of crime in England and Wales. ‘For the crime types, it covers, the BCS provides a better reflection of the true extent of crime because it includes crimes that are not reported to the police. The BCS count also gives a better indication of trends in crime over time because it is unaffected by changes in levels of public reporting and police recording’ (Jansson 1982). The first victimization surveys were done in the 60s and 70s and were designed to examine the crimes that were not reported to or recorded by the police or what we call, the “dark figure” of crime. Over time BCS has upgraded its methods and system.