The Application of Statistical Psychology to Crime and Justice: Demonstrating the ‘Dark Figure’ of Crime with Historical Example in the UK


This lecture presents students, and professionals who are training in crime statistics reporting, with a concrete tutorial in how to critically evaluate government crime statistics with reference to public data collected from public surveys on their recounted experiences of crime.

Benefit of this resource and how to make the best use of it

Particularly of benefit to students and lecturers of criminology, psychology of law, and law, this tutorial uses historical crime statistics from Home Office UK reports from what was previously known as the British Crime Survey. The tutorial demonstrates the inconsistencies in police reported crime and crime reported in the same time period by a representative sample of people from public households in England & Wales. What’s more, the tutorial explores whether public fear of crime can be justified by crime’s extent. The tutorial presents a worked clear example of the ‘Dark Figure of Crime’ phenomenon, and provides detailed coverage of the following:

1. Advantages and disadvantages of police reporting v public reporting of crime,

2. Understanding the explanatory steps to attend to when discrepancies in official policing crime statistics, and official public crime reporting statistics arise,

3. The circumstances that brought about the ‘Simmons Report (2000)’,

4. Explanations for the rise in crime according to societal and psychological factors,

5. The ‘Social Psychological Fear of Crime Model’ of explanation regarding public perception of their likelihood to be victims of crime, regardless of crime statistics reporting,

6. The psychological consequences of victimization and how it relates to lack of crime reporting to the police in the first instance, and finally the presentation closes with an evaluation.

The lecture will be suitable to those working in social research and studying criminology, law, socio-legal studies, forensic psychology, critical psychology, or social statistics.

Related OER

This workbook takes the student on a conceptual journey aiding their understanding of what is meant by the quantitative-qualitative research process in contemporary legal empirical research. Although, of interest to social science students, the particular worked examples relate to how to do research on law, legal policy and review.

This lecture addresses core issues in choosing a research topic for undergraduate and first time researchers to consider. Often final year undergraduate students find this task a difficult one. Step by step the the lecture connects the student to core concepts, pressure points and key readings to foster their idea and focus their decision.

Report an Issue