Self reports are an accurate method of gauging the nature and extent of delinquent behavior

The development of instruments to better measure serious offenses and the suggestion to acquire data from high-rate offenders coincided with a substantive change in the s in the focus of much criminology work on the etiology of offenders.

By allowing respondents to report the number of delinquent acts they committed rather than specifying an upper limit e. They argued that self-report instruments did not include the more serious crimes for which people are arrested and that are included in victimization surveys.

identify three main ways that juvenile crime is measured in the united states

If internal consistency were low, it may not have any implication for reliability but may simply mean that this particular theoretical assumption was incorrect. Overall, these correlations are reasonably high, somewhere around 0. It appears that survey respondents are quite willing to self-report their involvement with the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems.

Self report crime survey example

Each is discussed below. They were interviewed only once, so all of the self-reported arrest data are retrospective, with relatively long recall periods. Early self-report scales tended to ignore serious criminal and delinquent events and concentrated almost exclusively on minor forms of delinquency. While researchers were aware of many of these limitations, the dilemma they faced was how to obtain valid information on crime that was closer to the source of the behavior. While reliability focuses on a particular property of the measure—namely, its stability over repeated uses—validity concerns the crucial relationship between the theoretical concept one is attempting to measure and what one actually measures. Unfortunately, only 45 minutes elapsed between the test and the retest, so it is quite possible the retest responses were strongly influenced by memory effects. No measure is absolutely, perfectly reliable. To gain these desirable qualities, however, requires a considerable expansion of the self-report schedule. They then used juvenile court petitions as an external criterion to assess the validity of the self-reported responses. The best way to examine this is to compare self-reported delinquent behavior and official measures of delinquency. Early studies Porterfield, ; Wallerstein and Wylie, found that not only were respondents willing to self-report their delinquency and criminal behavior, they did so in surprising numbers. If the general domain of delinquent and criminal behavior is to be represented in a self-report scale, it is necessary for the scale to cover that same wide array of human activity. Moreover, the reactions of the juvenile and criminal justice systems often rely on information from victims or witnesses of crime. Hence, observational studies had limited utility in describing the distribution and patterns of criminal behavior.

In general, self-report measures of delinquency and crime, especially the more recent longer inventories, appear to have a high degree of construct validity.

Based on these data, Huizinga and Elliott estimated test-retest reliability scores for the general delinquency index and a number of subindices.

Self reported crime statistics

It is unfortunate that this approach is not used to assess validity more formally and more systematically. It does not take an expert on crime to recognize that a substantial amount of crime is not reported and, if reported, is not officially recorded. Prior record increases chance of formal sanctions Other researchers find arrest rates to be a product of offending rates Ecological differences explain minority arrest rates "African-American male juveniles less likely to admit involvement in serious crimes for which they have been arrested. The reliability coefficients vary somewhat depending on the number and types of delinquent acts included in the index and the scoring procedures used e. Krohn There are three basic ways to measure criminal behavior on a large scale. The survey design was sensitive to a number of methodological deficiencies of prior self-report studies and has been greatly instrumental in improving the self-report method. The best way to examine this is to compare self-reported delinquent behavior and official measures of delinquency. The development of instruments to better measure serious offenses and the suggestion to acquire data from high-rate offenders coincided with a substantive change in the s in the focus of much criminology work on the etiology of offenders.

As a result, the best that can be done is to compare different flawed measures of criminal involvement to see if there are similar responses and results. Although the self-report method began with the contributions of Page 45 Share Cite Suggested Citation:"3. Are the data valid? With few exceptions, these studies supported the general conclusion that, if there were any statistically significant relationship between measures of social status and self-reported delinquent behavior, it was weak and clearly did not mirror the findings of studies using official data sources.

See Huizinga and Elliott,for a more formal discussion of this point.

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Measuring Delinquency