What is a victim survey?
Victim surveys are official statistics that aim to discover crimes that have been committed. It does this by taking a random sample from the population and asking them whether or not they have been victims of crime and if so, whether or not they reported this to the police. This is a way of finding out what the real crime statistics are rather than using the Official Crime Statistics that only show reported crime. These surveys can be done either nationally or locally. The survey collects information such as the victims, how it occurred and the behavior of the offenders. This can lead to better understanding of why and how people commit crime and lead to the knowledge of knowing how to stop something before it even happens.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of victim surveys?
An advantage of victim surveys is that they give a true picture of crime rather than just showing what crime has been reported. Crime figures tend to double when these surveys are given out. On the other hand, this may not be a true representation as people may lie as to whether they have been a victim. This could be because they are afraid to tell the truth in fear of embarrassment. Another advantage of these surveys is that it identifies figures geographically so we can begin to notice patterns that occur. A drawback may be that there may be a recurrence of the crime and because of this, the victim may be too scared to talk about it or it may bring back memories that they don’t wish to revisit and so may lie for this reason. Victims may also be unable to be questioned in a case such as child abuse; this again means that not all crime can be shown to be represented in Official Statistics.