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Criminal Justice Alternatives to Official Statistics Victimization and Juvenile Misbehavior

NCJ Number
J H Larson
Date Published
145 pages
To explore the utility of alternative methods of measuring the incidence of personal and property offenses, a 13-page victimization schedule was administered to a probability sample of households in a 16-county region of North Dakota, and a juvenile misbehavior questionnaire was administered to 297 students in grades 7, 8, and 9.
The victimization study reveals a lower rate of incidence than reported in the National Crime Panel study of nonmetropolitan areas. Vandalism, theft from cars and residences, and robbery were the most frequently reported incidents. Physical incidents accounted for a very small percentage of reported victimizations. Bismarck/Mandan residents, residents of 5 to 9 years' duration, and women reported more offenses than other victim categories. A majority of respondents felt no need to secure personal property and reported a perception of personal safety. The majority also showed a low level of preventive action, although those dissatisfied with local law enforcement showed a higher level. Both official statistics and questionnaire results in the juvenile study reveal a low level of delinquency and misbehavior at the study sites. Misbehavior indicators reflect juvenile involvement in vandalism, alcohol consumption, petty theft, and adolescent acting-out. Overall, results indicate that the Uniform Crime Report data are comparable to the victimization study for major crimes (felony). However, specific offense victimization studies using a longitudinal design appear to provide additional scope and depth to incidence figures. Additional schools selected by a probability sampling technique likewise would provide comparative data not reflected in official statistics. Tables and study instruments are provided. (Author abstract modified)