Demographic and Moderator Variables in Measuring Homicides
DEMOGRAPHIC AND MODERATOR VARIABLES IN HOMICIDES
Demographicand Moderator Variables in Measuring Homicides
Demographicand Moderator Variables in Measuring Homicides
TheFBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) offers extensive data on therace, sex, and age of offenders and murder victims. Furthermore, itprovides information on the types of weapons used to commit homicide,the situations surrounding the incidents, and the correlation of thefatalities to the criminals. The paper looks at the representation ofdemographic items and related moderator variables in the reporting ofhomicides committed in the U.S.
of the statistics
In2008, law enforcers surrendered murder figures to the FBI for 14,180murders and 16,277 offenders (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2009).In 2009, the enforcers reported 13,636 victims and 15,760 criminals(Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2010). This shows that theincidence of homicide reduced from 2008 to 2009. In 2008, 78.2%(11,059) of the victims were male while 21.7% (3,078) were females.During the same period, male offenders were 64.9% (10,568) and womenmurderers were 7.2% (1,176). Moreover, most of the killers were white(5,943 or 36.5%), followed by whites (5,334 or 32.8%) while most ofthe victims were whites (6,838 or 48.2%) with blacks’ fatalitiesrepresenting 47.5% or 6,782 (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2009).In 2009, most offenders were male (65.9% or 10,391) and black (5,890or 37.4%) while most victims were male (10,496 or 77%) and whites(6,568 or 48.2%) (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2010). During thetwo periods, most murders involved the use of firearms (71.9% in 2008and 71.8% in 2009). Majority were killed by acquaintances or familymembers (54.7% and 23.3% in 2008 and 53.8% and 24.2% in 2009respectively. It is also imperative to note that during the twoperiods, most of the offenders were aged between 17 and 34 yearswhile majority of the victims were from 17 and 44 years.
Reliabilityand Validity of the Data
The statistics are not overlyaccurate especially regarding the offender since roughly 27% in bothyears are unknown by sex and 29% in race. Moreover, both reports havea high number of unidentified victims and offenders. Ansari and He(2015) assert that the program relies on self-reports ofvictimization and crimes, which means the data provided may lackvalidity and reliability. The UCR platform experiences problems suchas, nonstandard definitions of events, non-reporting, falsereporting, and coverage. Moreover, the statistics do not includejustifiable homicides, for example, the killing of an offender by aprivate citizen or police officer during a crime (Loftin, McDowall,Curtis, & Fetzer, 2015). This means that the statistics do notoffer a comprehensive report of the number or elements of thehomicides committed. It is imperative to point out that the data onlyincludes primary variables, for example, race, age, and sex, failingto incorporate other items such as, level of education, socialstatus, residence or neighborhood, economic status, and ethnicity.The statistics provided by UCR shows that age and gender arepredominantly related to crimes. Men are three times more likely tocommit homicides or become victims of murder than women. Majority ofthe dead or criminals fall between 17 and 44 years while littledifference exists in race (roughly 2% in both cases). Although thereport does not provide social or economic elements of homicides,research shows that the aspects play a major role. Loeber et al.(2015) assert that there exists a significant correlation betweenemployment, gender, age, and education and the incidence of murders.Most young people or uneducated ones fail to see the dangersassociated with killing while most men commit the crimes because oftheir high incidence of aggression and deviance.
Overrepresentationof Certain Populations
The statistics haveoverrepresented males because of their high prevalence for violence.Loftin et al. (2015) show that men have a high tendency of committingcrimes than females because they are usually emotional disconnected.Loeber et al. (2015) assert that women understand the emotionalsignificance of killing thus, the low data on female offenders.Furthermore, the society has associated masculinity with aggression,which means it teaches males to be violent without sentiment. Theencouragement of boys to take risks when young allows them to becomemore delinquent than women thus, their overrepresentation in thedata.
The UCR is a significant programin reporting the incidences of major crimes in America. However, itis not extensive enough, as evidenced by non-reporting ormisrepresenting of some criminal activities. It does not include someimportant variables, for example, education, neighborhood, andemployment hence, lacks validity in measuring the level of crime inthe U.S.
Ansari, S., & He, N. (2015).Convergence revisited: A multi-definition, multi-method analysis ofthe UCR and the NCVS crime series (1973-2008). JusticeQuarterly, 32(1),1-31.
Federal Bureau of Investigation.(2009). Expanded homicide data. In UniformCrime Report: Crime in the United States, 2008.Retrieved 5 April 2017 fromhttps://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2008.
Federal Bureau of Investigation.(2010). Expanded homicide data. In UniformCrime Report: Crime in the United States, 2009.Retrieved 5 April 2017 from
Loeber, R., Farrington, D. P.,Hipwell, A. E., Stepp, S. D., Pardini, D., & Ahonen, L. (2015).Constancy and change in the prevalence and frequency of offendingwhen based on longitudinal self-reports or official records:Comparisons by gender, race, and crime type. Journalof Developmental and Life-Course Criminology, 1(2),150-168.
Loftin, C., McDowall, D., Curtis,K., & Fetzer, M. D. (2015). The Accuracy of supplementaryhomicide report rates for large U.S. cities. HomicideStudies, 19(1),6-27.
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