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Mini paper 1 - Book Report/Review Example

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In the chapter “Homicide in the Twentieth Century: Trends, Types, and Causes”, Zahn writes about the different sources of data on homicide in the early years of the 20th century. In addition, the scholar details why these sources cannot be considered fully reliable. This…
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Mini paper 1

Download file to see previous pages... Zahn describes the various data sources available to collect information about homicide in the chapter “Homicide in the Twentieth Century: Trends, Types, and Causes”. There were two important sources in the early years of the 20th century to avail information about homicide. The first source is the Vital Statistics, available from the National center for Health Statistics, and the second source is the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Zahn, 1989). In addition, another source of data is the various studies on homicide in the twentieth century.
The first problem with the UCR and Vital Statistics is that they were not fully national prior to 1930s. That means the data available contains information about some states and not about others. In addition, the scholar points out that the Vital Statistics of the National Center for Health Statistics is collected and forwarded by the coroner’s or medical examiner’s office. These coroners are not experts in identifying the cause of death as medical training is not mandatory for them. Thus, without adequate training in scientifically and properly identifying homicide cases, these coroners are highly unlikely to report all the homicide cases (Zahn, 1989). The second issue is that these coroners are given a set fee for each case they investigated and established the cause of death irrespective of the complexity of the investigation. In such an eventuality, one cannot expect them to do any thorough investigation. Furthermore, many of the coroner’s and medical examiner’s offices had problems with training, size and funding. As a result, these offices were unable to conduct detailed determination like autopsies. That indicates many of the homicides in this period might have gone unreported in Vital Statistics.
Yet another issue is related to categorization of deaths. Prior to 1968, medical examiners were not able to report a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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