Affiliations: Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice,
University of Maryland, 2220 LeFrak Hall, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.
Tel.: +1 301 405 0171; Fax: +1 301 405 4733; E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Routinely collected statistics on crime and the administration of
justice are essential for developing laws and policies that are responsive to
the crime problem and for holding criminal justice agencies accountable in the
execution of those policies. Any statistical system on crime and the
administration of justice should include the opportunity for the direct
participation of citizens in providing information on the crime problem. This
direct participation enhances our ability to check on administrative record
data and bolsters the legitimacy of these statistics more generally.
Victimization surveys allow citizens to have this direct participation. The
specific role of victimization surveys in a statistical system will depend upon
the credibility and technical proficiencies of the police, court and
correctional agencies. This paper describes the preferred role of victimization
surveys and the technological challenges in playing that role under different
conditions of legitimacy and technical capabilities.