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Crime Data Comparison Paper

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Crime Data Comparison Paper

Crime can be measured in a number of ways from collecting household data through surveys to using law enforcement agency records. Information gathered in this fashion is reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, and Uniform Crime Reports are created. Created in 1929 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Uniform Crime Reports are used to create crime statistics for the nation. At the beginning of calendar each year, crime data from the previous year is collected from several different sources across the United States and is used to create the Uniform Crime Report for the previous year, which can help determine what areas of the United States are experiencing the most crime and in what areas crime has increased or decreased. Being able to see this information can help law enforcement agencies, such as State Troopers, determine where more manpower is needed and assist in determining what cities and areas have a higher rate of crime and are in need of the financing to hire more law enforcement to combat the rise in crime.

The two cities used for comparison are Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the time frame of January 2009 through June 2009. With Philadelphia holding a much larger population at an average of 1.4 million compared to Pittsburgh’s average of 400 thousand, the number of burglaries that were reported was higher in Philadelphia than those that were reported in Pennsylvania, according to the Uniform Crime Report for June of 2009.

The rates of crime for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia also differ greatly due to the differences in populations. According to the Uniform Crime Report in 2008, the amount of burglaries that were reported in Philadelphia totaled 5,828 while those reported in Pittsburgh trailed behind at just 1,390. This averages 112 burglaries a day in Philadelphia for an affected area of 135.09 square miles while Pittsburg averages only 26 burglaries a day for a smaller area of 55 square miles. However, in 2009, the Uniform Crime Report stated that the amount of reported burglaries in Philadelphia had dropped from 5,828 to a lower rate of 4,847 and the burglaries in Pittsburgh dropping from 1,390 to a lower rate of 1,220. There is a large decrease in the amount or reported burglaries for the year of 2009 averaging almost 1000 burglaries fewer than the previous year in 2008 resulting in an average of 93 burglaries a day from the 112 per day from 2008. In Pittsburg, crime reduced to a rate of 23 burglaries a day from the 26 per day from the previous year, resulting in 170 less burglaries from the 1,390 in 2008.

When determining the factors that explain the difference in burglaries for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, one very important factor stands out: population. Philadelphia has a much, much larger population than Pittsburgh, resulting in the higher reported burglaries in that area and the larger number of decrease in crime in 2009. The decrease in crime in both cities shows that law enforcement, home security system, and neighborhood watches, have been effectively used as a burglary deterrent in both cities. Other factors play into the fall of the crime rate include job availability; less people are unemployed which means that people are less desperate to come up with money which reduces the burglary rates. Another cause for the reduction of burglary is that seasoned criminals who were committing the crimes themselves and recruiting others to assist with committing the crimes are now behind bars. Additional factors such as “crime code changes, incidents not being ‘crimed’, a fall in reporting, and fewer police officers observing crimes” (“Understanding The Crime Fall”, (2013) are also important when determining why crime has reduced in an area.

Whether viewing crime rates in two cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia or Dallas and Austin, data obtained from the Uniform Crime Report has been essential in determining what areas of the United States are affected by more or less crime than others since its creation in 1929. Using the Uniform Crime Report assists law enforcement agencies in determining what deterrents are working in their favor to reduce the amount of crime in their area and across the United States. Using the information provided by the Uniform Crime Report in 2009, it is apparent that the crime in Pittsburg and Philadelphia decreased by a large number for the affected areas leading
to the question of what exactly was the cause of the lowered crime rates.

Federal Bureau of Investigations. Uniform Crime Reports (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2013 from

Understanding the crime fall. (2013). Retrieved September 9, 2013 from http://www.ucl.ac.uk/scs/research-consultancy/geographical-analysis/CrimeFall

U.S. Census Bureau. State & County QuickFacts Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (November 17, 2009). Retrieved September 9, 2013 from

U.S. Census Bureau. State & County QuickFacts Pittsburgh County, Pennsylvania (November 17, 2009). Retrieved September 9, 2013 from

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