CRIME REPORTING AND PERCEIVED EFFECTS ON ITS VICTIMS: A CASE STUDY OF ILORIN METROPOLIS
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1.1 Background to the Study
Crime is an everyday phenomenon found to have eaten deep into the heart of every society. It is a common word which has uncommon connotations, depending on what an individual or group thinks or defines it,(Hartjen,1978;Sellin 1939). They observed that since every society has its rules or norms designed to control the behavior of its member, the study of crime according to the behavioral school of thought then is the study of those activities that violates socially prescribed standards, whether or not it breaks some criminal law
Paul Tatpan (1960), refers to crime as any intention act or omission, in violation of criminal law (statutory and case law), committed without defense or justification and sanctioned by the state, as a felony or simple offense. It is therefore evident that criminal activities have negative impact on society, community, and most especially on the victims, on which such crimes are perpetrated. Activities such as murder rape, arson, burglary, gambling, robbery embezzlement assault and prostitution are examples of these crimes committed. It should be noted that individuals have the desire to feel safe in their homes places of work, community and wherever they find themselves. To fulfill this urge, criminal activities are reported to appropriate authorities, established to safeguard the lives and properties of its citizens. The criminal justice system is therefore, put in place to deliver crimes reported to them.
Crimes reported cannot be said to have effectively reduced the rate of criminal activities, making people lose their faith in the Criminal Justice System (CJS). Individuals or groups concurrently complain about the injustice they suffer when nefarious criminal acts are overlooked and treated with such low level of seriousness. It could be concluded therefore that the major factor adducible to the loose of faith of individual, groups and corporate bodies, is the perceived inefficiency of the so-called appropriate bodies.
1.2 Statement of the Problem.
Many societies all over the world have had to contend with the consequences of criminal activities, which include lives and properties fear of the unknown, political instability, victimization by conventional criminals, amongst others.(Fayeye, 2010.)
Even though a member of the society reports a crime to a law enforcement officer, it would not be counted unless it is recorded in a way that allows it to be incorporated into the crime statistics, as a consequence, offending particularly minor offending, may be significantly under counted in situations where law enforcement officers are overloaded with work or do not perceive the offending as worth recording. Some crimes reported are not done in a way that the actual event of things is made known. These crimes lack uniformity, which produce obvious difficulties in actually investigating and solving the crimes that are reported. Another causal factor may include the time frame of the crime. A firsthand account is relatively low. For example by the time a robbery case is being reported, the robbers will probably have fled the victims in the hospital, answering police questions if any is around or even in the mortuary.
Certain behavior are labeled deviant which in actual fact may not be, according to the criminal code of that particular society. Members of the society (victims and witnesses), are most times ignorant of criminal laws. When such behaviors are reported, they are more or less unimportant. Crimes known to police (CKP), already certified as reported may not be analyzed as desired by victims of such immoral acts. Charges may be dropped, even when the perpetrator is arrested. Such is the situation when there is lack of evidence. Another popular incidence is the arrest of innocent persons in place of those that actually committed the crimes. This maybe as a result of being in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Pleading guilty to a crime, lower than that which an offender commits is another major problem. In most cases, it reduces the levity of punishment and sentence becomes inproportionate to the actual crime committed. Also among the problems associated with crime reporting, is the dependency of skills on both the prosecuting counsel and defense counsel, with convictions and acquaintances actually depending on the professional skills of both counsels.
Another problem associated with the procedure of reporting crimes is the inconsistencies involved in information given out by the so-called witnesses, when crimes are being investigated. The illiterate nature of most citizens about the legal and criminal code of its society poses a greater threat. Some just give information about a crime thinking that by doing so; they will be popular, given money for coming forth with’ vital information’. With this, they say or do anything to act as if they were present when the crime occurred. This scenario drastically slows down the process of justice.
1.3 Aims and Objectives.
The motive behind carrying out this research work is to properly and carefully scrutinize the effect of behavior contrary to the formal law in the society, on its victims and to achieve the following aims;
- To assess the actual level of crime as against reported crimes.
- To highlight the effect or impact of such reported crimes on their victims.
- To make practical suggestions on how to reduce the negative effects of crimes.
To suggest ways in which criminals are to be punished, for correction.
To ascertain who exactly can be held responsible for widespread of criminal activities.
1.4 Scope of Study.
This research work is basically concerned with the major effect of crime reporting on the victims and the impact of proper investigation of criminal activities amongst members of the Ilorin metropolitan areas.
For the purpose of accurate and effective research work, the study is restricted to a selected sample, from the entire metropolis, a representative of a fair proportion as a whole.
1.5 Significance of the Study.
Most importantly, this research work is to contribute to the knowledge of the criminal activities and how they may be reduced or at most eradicated.
It shall also act as a basis for further investigation or scrutinization on crime reporting and the various psychological social effects on its victims.
Lastly, it is an attempt to bring into limelight; some of the errors involved in the process of crime reporting and suggest likely solutions on how to improve these services.
1.6 Definition of Concepts.
Crime can be defined as those activities that break the laws of the land and are subject to official punishment (Haralambos,1980).
A criminal is a person who is involved in illegal activities or has been proven guilty or responsible for a crime.
Deviance may be defined as any social behavior which departs from that regarded as normal or socially acceptable within a society or social context, (Becker, 1963). Another scholar Lemert, (1961) used the term ‘primary deviance’ rather than deviance to mean the initial act of rule-breaking.
Criminal Justice System (CJS)
The set of institutions developed as the state response to crime and criminals. (David and Mary Jary,1991). A variety of organizations that have been created to combat crime and delinquency. The police, courts and correctional systems together compose the criminal justice system.
The prosecuting counsel refers to the lawyer, who tries to prove in a court of law that the person charged with a crime is guilty. (Longman Oxford Dictionary).
This is also a lawyer, who tries to prove that someone is not guilty of a crime, in a court of law i.e innocent.
A person who has been attacked by a criminal.
A person who is present at the scene of a crime or criminal activity and can describe the incident clearly and without bias.
It is the outcome of the existence or occurrence of a particular social action or event.
1.7 Organization of Study
The project is planned and organized into five (5) chapters.
Chapter one will be based on the entire introduction of the research work, statement of problems, aims and objectives, significance of the study and So on.
Chapter two, will focus on the review of the various literature that would employed in explaining the topic-crime reporting and perceived effects, it has on its victims.
The following chapter will encompass the theoretical framework and research methodology which will also include the various methods that will be employed in data collection.
The penultimate chapter will consist of the presentation and analysis of data, according to the research questions and classification.
The final chapter shall comprise of the entire project work’s conclusions and recommendations.