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Making Crime Count

Making Crime Count

Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 256
  • Book Info
    Making Crime Count
    Book Description:

    Haggerty sheds light on the gathering and disseminating of crime statistics through an examination of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, the branch of Statistics Canada responsible for producing data on the criminal justice system.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7689-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-13)

    To ʹmake crime countʹ involves transforming crime and the criminal-justice system into something mat can be counted. Discussions about criminal justice frequently involve an exchange of statistical trends, rates, and indices. These often draw us into apparently irresolvable debates over the meaning of these indicators. This crush of numbers neglects the fact that the statistics are themselves a social accomplishment, a product of institutional regimes and processes. To date, the organizations that make crime count have not been greatly scrutinized by sociologists or criminologists. Such neglect is especially striking given how important such statistics are to public discourse, academic inquiry,...

  5. 1 The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics: The Organization and Critique of Crime Statistics
    (pp. 14-37)

    Outside of a small circle of individuals, very few people are aware of how the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) operates. That said, the type of knowledge it produces has been subjected to intense sociological scrutiny. This chapter introduces the CCJS and outlines some of the limitations that have been identified with official crime statistics. The Centreʹs organizational structure, personnel, and early history are first outlined, as these play an important part in structuring the types of knowledge that the Centre produces and inform its political dynamics. The specifics of its main reporting vehicle, the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR),...

  6. 2 Numerical Governance and Knowledge Networks
    (pp. 38-63)

    Aggregate forms of knowledge foster a distinctive conception of governance and provide the tools to accomplish governmental agendas. The past few decades have witnessed transformations in governmental rationalities and techniques for governing criminal justice, and the statistical knowledges about crime trends and criminal-justice processes produced by agencies such as the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics have contributed to these changes. Knowledge about aggregate crime trends fosters a distinctive approach towards dealing with crime and criminals, one that has been characterized as ʹactuarial justiceʹ (Feeley and Simon 1994). At the same time, the availability of statistical indicators about the operations of...

  7. 3 Networks and Numbers: The Institutional Production of Crime Data
    (pp. 64-89)

    To understand liberal governance we must appreciate the practices that make social facts possible. Such facts emerge from networks that generate volumes of inscriptions, that is to say, transportable representational forms such as pictures, drawings, graphs, and so on. Inscriptions flow into a central location, where they are coordinated and emerge as a host of official indices. The importance of the specific operations of these centres of calculation is accentuated by Nikolas Rose (1996: 43), who observes that ʹthe composition of such networks is the condition of possibility for ʺaction at a distance.ʺʹ Unfortunately, however, little effort has been expended...

  8. 4 Counting Race: The Politics of a Contentious Classification
    (pp. 90-125)

    Statistics rest on classifications that can themselves be controversial. Efforts to delineate the specific terms used to divide the population can be challenged or undermined by the politics of classification. This chapter is an extended study of one such classificatory controversy. It examines some of the problems, politics, and practices that can arise when the state classifies, or tries to classify, its population by race. The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics has expended considerable time and energy exploring whether to collect data on the race of an accused or victim. The staffʹs preliminary steps in this direction resulted in a...

  9. 5 Politics and Numbers
    (pp. 126-160)

    This chapter examines the different political aspects of, and influences upon, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. It commences with a discussion of the relationship between the Centre and partisan politics. While it is often contended that official statistics are unduly influenced by government, the Centre is determined to remain above such political partisanship. Consequently, it goes to considerable lengths to keep itself at armʹs length from direct governmental manipulation. While this means that the Centre has generally avoided partisan politics, it is nonetheless shaped by political factors that are not captured in the idealized image of a strict demarcation...

  10. 6 From Private Facts to Public Knowledge: Authorship and the Media in Communicating Statistical Facts
    (pp. 161-186)

    Contrary to the popular expression, the facts never speak for themselves. Numbers cannot tell a story on their own, but must be actively given a voice by others. The discourses in which they are embedded contain different dialects and intonations. Previous chapters documented some of the background processes involved in the production of criminal-justice statistics. They focused on phenomena that are usually beyond the purview of recognized statistical methods, but are nonetheless fundamental to producing the statistical truths upon which practices of governance rest. This chapter continues to explore this theme by accentuating the point at which statistical facts become...

  11. Conclusion: Statistics, Governance, and Rationality
    (pp. 187-198)

    This concluding chapter provides an opportunity to briefly reflect on two issues. First, it considers the modifications that this study suggests to the dominant approaches to the study of governance; or, more precisely, how the study of governance can benefit from engaging with an expanded range of issues and approaches. These concluding reflections on governance are largely directed at some of the positions advanced by Nikolas Rose, who has been the most prolific and insightful commentator on governance. This chapter accentuates three themes that relate to the analysis in this book pertaining to how governance operates and how it might...

  12. References
    (pp. 199-212)
  13. Index
    (pp. 213-222)