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Interpol Data

Essay by   •  February 26, 2012  •  Essay  •  364 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,305 Views

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1. INTERPOL- Dr. Jan Van Dijk opposes the reliance cross-national crime researchers have with Interpol data. Van Dijk contends that this is not an effective way to measure how much crime there is in different countries for three reasons being, the broad legal definitions, police reporting (may or may not record crime), and public reporting (may or may not report crime). Ultimately Van Dijk emphasizes the fact that there are too many discrepancies and biases in the Interpol data for it to truly be a dependable source of information.

However there are advantages to the Interpol data. For starters, it is the oldest quantitative cross-national data source and is one of the biggest intergovernmental agencies in the world, providing data from diverse countries. Police are provided with a set of guidelines and definitions to follow when recording crime to help lessen the space for error. Ultimately, Interpol data can be viewed as reliable because it is done annually and has been done for an extended period of time.

Dr. Van Dijk's first claim was that the legal definitions of crime are too broad for us to use comparatively. Van Dijk has compared the UN and Interpol questionnaires, and from these two sources alone has argues that the broad definitions of deviance give the crime statistics less significance. They may differ by the types of law that are enforced in each particular country, an example of this being in common law countries versus civil law countries. Additionally, for example when making comparison to the Unites States, acts that we may define as deviant be defined as more or less severe in other countries. The example that Dr. Van Dijk uses is burglary. In common law countries, burglary is the act of breaking and entering a premises with the intent to commit a serious crime. In civil law countries burglary is defined as the act of theft under aggravating circumstances (Van Dijk, 2008, 17).

The second argument is that police do not record all crimes. Van Dijk has used the British Crime Survey as his source of information. It has shown that police record only about half of the crimes reported to them. Amongst

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