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Criminals ViewS Crime
Majority of criminals say we don't do enough to stop them.
Criminals are surprisingly concerned about crime not just committing it but stopping it as well. The GSS (General Social Survey) ,a massive survey of Americans, contains questions regarding whether or not the Surveyee was imprisoned or convicted and also if they were arrested in the last year or ever. Looking at how such persons respond to questions regarding the criminal justice system yields surprising results.
People imprisoned/convicted ever and respondents arrested last year are similarly concerned with crime as the general public and overwhelming majority of them say too little is been done to stop it.
(Sample size for those arrested in the last 12 months is rather small, n=22, so no need to conclude they are more concerned with crime than the criminally inexperinced public.)
Slight majority of those imprisoned ever or arrested in the last year state we are not harsh enough on criminals and plurality of those convicted of a crime are similarly inclined. Here we do see variance of opinion from the general public.
The fact that there’re more men than women who are convicted, arrested or jailed should not matter much when comparing the opinions of the crime prone to crime none since men and women hold similar views on the previous questions.
What are criminals’ opinion with regard to police use of force?
Majority of them approve of it to the same degree as the public, answering the question of whether it’s ever acceptable for police to hit somebody.
(Here arrested in the last year is not available and the variable in the leftmost graph is arrested ever, an inferior choice since it does not relate as much to being a criminal)
More relevant to themselves, support for use of force on an escaped suspect among the crime prone is equivalent to public support.
Here men and women do diverge in opinion.
So controlling for this we can look only at how male criminals and non-criminals respond to the use of force questions and when this is done we see the difference does not make much of a difference.
Another interesting relevant variable is people answering yes to being afraid to walk in their neighborhood, such people support harsher punishment and more enforcement of crime so this query is another measure of concern about crime.
Imprisoned, convicted and arrested last year are similarly afraid to walk in their neighborhood as the public (don’t worry about criminals they’re just as afraid of you as you’re of them (not really)).
It is also interesting to look at fear to walk in neighborhood over time and to see greater feeling of safety corresponds to the crime decline of the 90s.
But there is something interesting going on here. The reported change in safety is only driven by women, men’s feelings of fear don’t change much with the rate of crime.
Returning to the topic at hand, why is it that those who are likely to commit crime show similar concern of crime to the general public and a want of its enforcement? Well a thief thinks everyone steals but if everyone steals one must take great care to defend his property.
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