Create a 12 pages page paper that discusses official statistics as a methodological resource. The most interesting aspect of this phenomenon is not just the volume of data being collected and amassed, however the broad range of aspects of the ‘crime problem’ that are now being vigilantly ‘measured’. A study of these provides a useful illustration of the two-way relationship between developments in the information field and changes in thinking about crime and justice.
Yet, the more organized kinds of data directly inform policy-making and ‘seep through’ into the public consciousness through political debate and media reports, where they are used to support or counter claims based on more unreliable evidence.
In the 1940s and 1950s, almost the only sources of significant and organized information about crime in England and Wales were the annually published Criminal Statistics, and the results of research by the small number of criminologists working in academic or clinical environments. Criminal Statistics, as now, presented national compilations of records produced at local level by the police and the courts: most significantly, the totals of notifiable offences recorded by the police, and of criminals found culpable of or warned for criminal offences. Research data were more varied. nevertheless most frequently were based upon meticulous records of the personal characteristics and social backgrounds of imprisoned criminals (see, for example, Bowlby 1944. 1953. Burt 1944).