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Major Crimes in the United States Introduction Laureate Albert Camus made his mark in history by highlighting the woes of the human conscience during his moment of glory (The Nobel Foundation, 1957, para. 1). One of his most remarkable quotes elucidates how crime had stubbornly endured despite the stern punitive arm of the law contending that: “For centuries the death penalty, often accompanied by barbarous refinements, has been trying to hold crime in check; yet crime persists … because the instincts that are warring in man are not, as the law claims, constant forces in a state of equilibrium” (as cited in Crane, 2004, p…
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Download file to see previous pages 500). The structure of the criminal justice system was patterned after the concept of federalism. Hence, police power is predominantly a stately matter, permitting all states to pass legislation required to protect the health, morals, safety and the general wellbeing of the people (Gaines & Miller, 2010, p. 12). Despite of laws and incarceration of criminals in correctional facilities, crime is continually a challenge for law enforcement. This is grounded on reported country totals of 1,092,455 cases of violent crimes and 6,390,018 cases of property crimes in the US for the year 2010 (FBI, 2011). However, surveys have revealed that many crimes were unreported, which only goes to show that more crimes are being committed than are generally reported, otherwise known as the dark figure or crime (Cole & Smith, 2007, p. 25). This paper examines the major crimes reported in the US with the end in view of lifting nuggets of wisdom from the statistics. Violent Crimes Major crimes in the United States are classified into two broad categories: violent crimes and property crimes (Hess & Orthmann, 2011, p. 83). Violent crimes are defined as offenses which involve the use of force or threat of force, according to the Unified Crime Report (UCR) Program (FBI, 2009a, para. 1). Violent crimes are crimes against persons (Gaines & Miller, 2010, p. 7; FBI, 2009a, para. 1). Four offenses comprise the category of violent crimes: murder and negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault (Gaines & Miller, 2010, p. 8; FBI, 2009a, para. 1). Figure 1 presents the frequency distribution of violent crimes in the US in the form of a pie chart. Figure 1. Frequency distribution of violent crimes in the US in 2010 (computed from FBI, 2011). As depicted in Figure 1, the top two violent crimes on the national level are aggravated assault and robbery, with 56% and 38% of the total violent crime cases, respectively. Only about 5% of the crimes involve forcible rape and approximately 1% involves murder. Violent crime figures (i.e. 1,092,455) in 2010 decreased by about 17% from 2009 figures (i.e., 1,318,398) (FBI, 2009a, FBI 2011). States with the highest violent crime statistics are California (17%), Texas (13%) and New York (11%). On the other hand, states with the lowest violent crime statistics are Montana (0.05%), South Carolina (0.08%), and South Dakota (0.09%) (Computed based on FBI, 2011). A correlation analysis comparing the relationship between state population and violent crime statistics per state revealed that there is a significant near perfect relationship between the state population and the incidence of violent crimes, or in other words, the higher the population, the higher is the incidence of violent crime in the state (r = 0.965; p < 0.001). However, when the violent crime rates were calculated by taking the percentage of the violent crime cases per state against state population, it was revealed that the top three states are Arkansas (1.52%), Maryland (1.46%) and Michigan (1.40%); and the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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