HOW DO PEOPLE MEASURE THE SERIOUSNESS OF CRIME?
Keywords:crime, public perceptions, crime seriousness
Crime is an undesirable aspect of social life. The nature and intensity of this undesirability is reflected in public perceptions of crime seriousness. These perceptions depend to some extent on the actual parameters of crime. At the same time, however, they are part of the social construction of contemporary reality and essential elements of normative culture. The study of these perceptions is an integral part of the study of social control. The present review attempted to examine to what degree is there agreement among individuals and groups in seriousness perceptions? Then, the degree to which perceptions of crime seriousness are consensually held between differing societies, and social groups over time is examined. Finally, the methodological debate over rating and ranking offence seriousness is considered.
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