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CJB153

Author Don Weatherburn
Published November 2011
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 153
Subject Court processes and delay; Crime statistics; Victims
Keywords crime statistics, media, crime victim surveys, headlines, courts

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Summary

Aim

To promote a better understanding of the uses and abuses of crime statistics amongst students, journalists and the interested public.

Method

Description of the main uses of crime statistics, coupled with analysis and examples of common abuses.

Results

Crime statistics have a wide variety of valid uses; including the measurement of crime trends and the evaluation of crime control initiatives. They are, however, frequently misinterpreted by the media and misrepresented by politicians.

Conclusion

The increase in media access to information about crime has not been matched by an increase in the quality of media reporting on crime. The misuse of crime statistics by the media has impeded rational debate about law and order.

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