How useful are crime statistics as a source of information about crime? As mentioned previously. official crime statistics provide important information on crime; however. the data reflect only those crimes that have been reported to the police. The number of violent-crime arrests decreased slightly (1.1 percent) in 2007 while the number of arrests for property crime increased S.4 percent, 1llese statistics may show that property crimes are up. or they may reflect (at least partially) an increase in the number of crimes reported. Why are some crimes not reported? People are more likely to report crime when they believe that something can be done about it (apprehension of the perpetrator or retrieval of their property. for example). About half of all assault and robbery victims do not report the crime because they may be embarrassed or fear reprisal by the perpetrator. 1111.\s,the number of crimes reported to police represents only the proverbial "tip of
the iceberg" when compared with all offenses actually committed. Official statistics are problematic in social science research because of these limitations. National Crime Victimization Survey was developed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics as an alternative means of collecting crime statistics. In this annual survey, the member" .;" 100.000 randomly selected households are interviewed to determine whether they have been the victim" of crime, even if the crime was not reported to the police. The most recent victimization survey indicates that 50 percent of all violent crimes and 61 percent of all property crimes are not reported to the police and arc thus not reflected in the UCR (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2007).
Studies based on anonymous self-reports of criminal behavior also reveal much higher rates of crime than those found in official statistics. For example. self-reports tend to indicate that adolescents of all social classes violate criminal laws. However. official statistics show that those who are arrested and placed in juvenile facilities typically have limited financial resources, have repeatedly committed serious offenses. or both (Liechtensteiner and Allan, 2000). Data collected for the Juvenile Court Statistics Program also reflect class and racial bias in criminal justice enforcement. Not all children who commit juvenile offenses are apprehended and referred to court. Children Iron white. affluent families are 1,10re likely to have their cases handled outside the juvenile justice system (for example. a youth may be sent :0 a private school or hospital rather than to a juvenile correctional facility). Many crimes committed by persons of higher so-' socioeconomic status in the course of business are handled by administrative or quasi-judicial bodies. such' as the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Federal Trade Commission. or by civil courts, As a result. many elite crimes are never classified as "crimes," nor are the businesspeople who commit them labeled as "criminals:'