Unreported Serious Crime

Unlike the police statistics, the BCS includes a measure to assess the seriousness of crime on a scale where 0 represents a minor offence and 20 represents murder. The surveys have shown that there is a consensus between people in judgements about seriousness. However, there is much variation within crime categories, with large standard deviations in ratings of seriousness. This may reflect that not only does the impact vary between victims but also that large variations are perceived in seriousness within an offence category. Seriousness ratings appeared to be influenced by financial loss and degree of injury. Those crimes considered to be serious were more likely to get reported. Nevertheless the 2000 Survey found that nearly 6.5 million crimes went unreported to the police, of which nearly 3 million were considered to be serious. The recording shortfall is larger for common assault, no-loss burglaries and theft from the person.

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