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Eric Prado

Self-Report Data

The information on self-report data I research was one gathered in a pilot program

involving the cities San Jose, CA and Dayton, FL. The comparison was very similar in numbers

and provided both the characteristic of crime and victim recollections. The main crime the pilot

self-report study focused on was larceny, robbery, and burglary. The report displayed shocking


According to Skogan (1974), In the Dayton -San Jose pilot surveys conducted in 1972

respondents recalled that about 60 percent of all robbery, 56 percent of all larceny, and 40

percent of all household burglary was not reported to the police. Their reasons for failing to do so

were numerous: the largest categories chosen were "not serious enough" (25 -30 percent),

"nothing can be done" (25 percent) or that the harm or loss was slight (10 percent). The reasons

for non-reporting vary in reasoning but one could assume the numbers up until today have

proportionally grown.

Todays reasoning on why victims do not report crimes committed against them can be

the same and I see the numbers disproportionately distributed in one area more than the other.

For example, in the 1972 Dayton-San Jose pilot study, one of the major reasons was because the

crime was not serious enough. In todays economy, not every citizen would bother to report

larceny involving items that do not hold high value or value enough for them to call the police

and go through the reporting process. Through my experiences working with victims of burglary

or theft, some of the victims/complainants waited a few hours and in some cases even days to
report a crime committed against them. Most of them reported that they took some time to

contemplate on whether or not to report the crime because they thought it may not be worth

going through the process.

In todays society, there are many citizens who are anti-law enforcement. This plays a

large factor into why victims and suspects do not truthfully participate in self-report data studies.

The societal and educational gap between socioeconomic classes causes a gap in education.

Those lower on the socioeconomic scale and without education tend to stray away from

involvement with reporting crimes and involvement with law enforcement. In most cases,

victims do not want to report crimes committed against them due to retaliation and gang

violence. Gang culture plays a huge role in the influencing in todays children. According to the

City of San Jose, in 2014, there were approximately 200 validated gangs in Santa Clara County

and 102 gangs in the city of San Jose alone. That accounts for more than 50% in the county.

Another major issue with self-report data was victims recollections on events. According

to Skogan (1974), Those who the police noted had been victimized by strangers recalled the

event 75 percent of the time. In general, property crime was much more fully recalled than

personal crime. Crimes against persons deemed to be more underreported than property crimes.

According to the Dayton-San Jose study, there are certain factors that play a role into why

crimes go unreported. This study was done in the 1970s. One can speculate the vast disparity in

crime reporting and the accuracy of todays data. The major reasons of unreported crimes is fear

of the police and questioning the worth of reporting crimes. San Jose is a big melting pot with
citizens that are from all over the world. Education, cultural values, and the distancing from law

enforcement play a huge role in crime and victimization reporting. In order to get a more updated

self-report data study, law enforcement organizations must continue their efforts in educating the

public and portraying the importance of crime reporting.



Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association.