When looking at the official statistics in general towards crimes that affect age, class, gender and race have the majority of crime rates really changed at all? Historically specific crimes were thought to have occurred in inner cities since Charles Dickens era. Walkowitz (1992) noted that Dickensian individuals living in those dirty overcrowded houses off dark alleyways were more capable of crime. Plus there was a significant class division, which was also implemented by racial inequality due to the African immigrants who had fled their country and ended up living in the UK (Muncie et al , 2002 p.156. )
It was not so long ago that the UK home office figures reported that Afro Caribbean youths living in the London area were more likely to carryout a street robbery compared to white youths. Infact in 1984 the police arrested 52% Afro-Caribbean men when indeed only 14% of non-whites lived in the area. Feldman (1993) recognised that in general African Caribbean's would commit more opportunist offences compared to their white counterparts, yet while, white individuals were carryout the majority of offences.
He also recognised that the offenders colour was only recognised for certain crimes, and this did not include 'white collar' crimes. The reason being that they were regarded as not being in the position to carryout such crimes (Brewer, 2000 p. 25. ) There is also evidence to suggest that males carry out the vast majority of crimes that are committed in the UK. White (1999) noted that crime was more likely to occur amongst young adolescent males from working class backgrounds that predominantly lived within a rough environment (Munchie & McLaughlin (2002) p.167. )
However, in 1999 female offences were found to be at the lower part of the spectrum at 33% compared to males. The home office (2000) records for females carrying out crimes such as handling stolen goods and theft have increased at 59%, drug offences 12% and violence against another 9%. It can be observed that there is a significant trend in the last decade that woman are carrying out more offences.
Moreover, Gelsthorpe & Morris (2002) noted that there is an significant increase of there involvement with drugs (Maguire et al, 2002 p. 496. ) In conclusion, one can suggest that there is evidence that official statistics are indeed manipulated, often to fit political agenda and/or economic gain. It can also be observed in the way they are collated, and how they are interpretated by the individual agencies involved, as they are trying to support there own ethos, strategies and opinions for there own gain.
We have observed that the miss use of such statistics can exaggerate a societies perception of ethnic, age and gender related crimes as Feldman (1993) and White (1999) noted. Although the importance of such statistics are well documented and can be advantageous for policy making, via educating and insuring that the correct resources are available for specific areas of crime. One way of doing this would be to target those young adolescent males before they pursue a future in crime.
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"Labour has political Gain", Daily Telegraph (22nd October 2004) [Internet] www.telegraph.co.uk.
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White, A, (1999) "The Structure and Organization of Criminal Justice System in England & Wales". In: Mc Conville & Wilson (2002) Handbook of Criminal Justice Process: Oxford: Oxford university press.
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"Woman has tongue bitten off", Daily Telegraph (29th October 2004) [Internet] www.telegraph.co.uk.
Appendices 1 - Sanctions of Detections by Police Force and region, 2003/04.