Monday, June 23, 2008
Videogaming and Crime Victimisation
This graph seems like it's rooted more in propaganda and wishful thinking than hard data. It also makes a mockery of any number of theories of social deviance. But I've spent the best part of two hours trying to pull it apart and I've yet to find a significant chink in its armour.
The numbers come from a US Bureau of Justice survey of violent crime in the United States between 1973 and 2005. The survey targets a "nationally representative sample" of around 77,000 households and asks questions about the experiences of individuals with crime (so this is based on victim perception of crime, rather than police reports, prosecutions or convictions).
It's more or less corroborated by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which gives numbers for reported crime.
The turning point in both sets of data appears to be 1993. It's possibly significant that the US Bureau of Justice made some major changes to their data collection in 1993 but if anything those changes should have raised the numbers rather than lowering them. Correctional data for the period is suggestive but doesn't seem to provide the answer.
Does anyone out there have any insight into what's really responsible for these dramatic statistics?
Thanks to Hibikiryouga for drawing my attention to the graph.