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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10581.
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Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research

WORKSHOP SUMMARY

John V. Pepper and

Carol V. Petrie

Committee on Law and Justice and

Committee on National Statistics

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

The National Academies Press
Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10581.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. 98-IJ-CX-0030 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

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Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 2002115675

Additional copies of this report are available from
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Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2003). Measurement Issues in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary. J.V. Pepper and C.V. Petrie. Committee on Law and Justice and Committee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10581.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10581.
×

COMMITTEE ON LAW AND JUSTICE

Charles F. Wellford (Chair),

Center for Applied Policy Studies and Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland

Alfred Blumstein,

H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University

Jeanette Covington,

Department of Sociology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Ruth Davis,

The Pymatuning Group, Inc., Alexandria, VA

Jeffrey Fagan,

Schools of Law and Public Health, Columbia University

Darnell Hawkins,

Department of African American Studies, University of Illinois, Chicago

Philip Heymann,

Center for Criminal Justice, Harvard Law School

Candace Kruttschnitt,

Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota

Mark Lipsey,

Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University

Colin Loftin,

School of Criminal Justice, State University of New York at Albany

John Monahan,

School of Law, University of Virginia

Daniel Nagin,

H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University

Joan Petersilia,

School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine

Peter Reuter,

Department of Criminology and Research, University of Maryland

Wesley Skogan,

Department of Political Science and Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

Cathy Spatz Widom,

Department of Psychiatry, New Jersey Medical School

Kate Stith,

School of Law, Yale University

Michael Tonry,

Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University

Carol Petrie, Director

Ralph Patterson, Senior Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10581.
×

COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS

John E. Rolph (Chair),

Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

Joseph G. Altonji,

Department of Economics, Northwestern University

Lawrence D. Brown,

Department of Statistics, University of Pennsylvania

Julie DaVanzo,

RAND, Santa Monica, CA

William F. Eddy,

Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University

Robert M. Groves,

Joint Program in Survey Methodology, University of Maryland, College Park

Hermann Habermann,

Statistics Division, United Nations, New York

Joel Horowitz,

Department of Economics, University of Iowa

William D. Kalsbeek,

Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Roderick J.A.

Little, School of Public Health, University of Michigan

Thomas A. Louis,

RAND, Arlington, VA

Daryl Pregibon,

AT&T Laboratories-Research, Florham Park, NJ

Francisco J. Samaniego,

Division of Statistics, University of California, Davis

Richard L. Schmalensee,

Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Matthew D. Shapiro,

Department of Economics, University of Michigan

Andrew A. White, Director

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10581.
×

Acknowledgments

Accurate, reliable, and valid measurement of crime and criminal victimization is becoming increasingly important. American anxiety about violent crime remains high even when rates are plummeting. However, rates of violent crime are again on the rise, and as advances in technology continue to make the world ever smaller, new types of crime are emerging. This workshop grew out of a need to develop better information for policy officials and researchers about crime in the United States— how much crime takes place in general, how best to develop estimates of crime in small geographic areas and among subpopulations, and how to estimate the frequency of rare but heinous crimes. In general, workshop participants focused on how scientific advances in research and analysis can be used to improve the design of surveys. Participants joked that only about 200 people in the world really worry about these matters, but they are important because without accurate and reliable estimates of crime we have no hope of understanding what works or does not to make society safer.

The Committee on Law and Justice and the Committee on National Statistics were fortunate to be able to bring together for this workshop many of the scholars who care the most about these issues. Four papers were commissioned. Two are published here as articles signed by the authors. The others, in the interest of time and space, are summarized, with the discussion, by the authors of this report. Many people made generous contributions to the workshop’s success. We thank the authors of the pa

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10581.
×

pers presented—Roger Tourangeau and Madeline E. McNeeley, University of Maryland; Terence P. Thornberry and Marvin D. Krohn, University at Albany, State University of New York; Trivellore Raghunathan, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan; and Richard McCleary, Douglas Weibe, and David Turbow, University of California, Irvine. We also thank the scholars who prepared comments for each of the papers: Alfred Blumstein, Carnegie Mellon University; Laura Dugan, Georgia State University; David Farrington, Cambridge University; Judith Lessler, Research Triangle Institute; James Lynch, American University; Charles Manski, Northwestern University; Elisabeth Stasny, Ohio State University; and James Walker, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The authors are particularly grateful for the leadership of Colin Loftin, University at Albany, State University of New York, who guided the organization of the workshop, made all of the initial contacts with paper authors and many of the discussants to develop workshop themes, ably chaired the workshop sessions, and provided comments and guidance for the development of this report. Special thanks also go to Steven Feinberg, Carnegie Mellon University, for his advice and guidance as the workshop topics were developed and to William Eddy, Robert Groves, and Charles Manski, Committee on National Statistics, and Andrew White, director of the Committee on National Statistics for their invaluable help in shaping the workshop. We also thank Christine McShane for her editorial support and Yvonne Wise for managing the production process.

This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Laura Dugan, Georgia State University; David Farrington, Cambridge University; Judith Lessler, Research Triangle Institute; James Lynch, The American University; Charles Manski, Northwestern University; Elizabeth Stasny, Ohio State University; and James Walker, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive com

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10581.
×

ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Alfred Blumstein, Carnegie Mellon University. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10581.
×

Contents

1

 

Overview
John V. Pepper and Carol V. Petrie

 

1

2

 

Measuring Crime and Crime Victimization: Methodological Issues
Roger Tourangeau and Madeline E. McNeeley

 

10

3

 

Comparison of Self-Report and Official Data for Measuring Crime
Terence P. Thornberry and Marvin D. Krohn

 

43

 

 

Appendixes

 

 

A

 

Workshop Agenda

 

95

B

 

List of Workshop Participants

 

98

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10581.
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Most major crime in this country emanates from two major data sources. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports has collected information on crimes known to the police and arrests from local and state jurisdictions throughout the country. The National Crime Victimization Survey, a general population survey designed to cover the extent, nature, and consequences of criminal victimization, has been conducted annually since the early1970s. This workshop was designed to consider similarities and differences in the methodological problems encountered by the survey and criminal justice research communities and what might be the best focus for the research community. In addition to comparing and contrasting the methodological issues associated with self-report surveys and official records, the workshop explored methods for obtaining accurate self-reports on sensitive questions about crime events, estimating crime and victimization in rural counties and townships and developing unbiased prevalence and incidence rates for rate events among population subgroups.

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