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Crime Statistics

3. The Dark Figure of Crime

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about the so-called 'dark figure of crime', focusing in particular on: (i) defining this as the difference between the number of crimes reported in official police statistics (2019: 5.6 million crimes reported) and crime and victimisation surveys (2019: 12 million crimes reported); (ii) the question of why there are so many crimes not reported to the police; (iii) the scale of the dark figure of crime, and how this varies by type of crime; (iv) the difference between reported crime and recorded crime, and the reasons for this difference; (v) the reasons why a victim of crime might not report that crime to the police.


In this course, Dr Stephanie Fohring (Northumbria University) provides an introduction to crime statistics. In the first lecture, we think about the subjective nature of crime, and the strengths and limitations of quantitative data (e.g. crime statistics) and qualitative data (e.g. in-depth interviews), respectively. In the second lecture, we think about some of the sources of crime statistics in the UK, particularly police-recorded crime statistics and crime and victimisation surveys. In the third lecture, we consider why there is such a big difference in these two sources of crime statistics – the so-called 'dark figure of crime'. Next, we think about why sexual offences have such so reporting and recording rates. In the fifth and final lecture, we consider how ethnicity affects experiences of crime and criminal justice.


Dr Stephanie Fohring in Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences at Northumbria University. Her research is victim-focused with particular interest in psychological aspects of victimisation, victimisation surveys, victim labelling, victim experiences of reporting crime and the criminal justice system, violence against women, vicarious trauma and post-traumatic growth.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Fohring, S. (2021, August 23). Crime Statistics - The Dark Figure of Crime [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Fohring, S. "Crime Statistics – The Dark Figure of Crime." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Aug 2021,

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