Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Statistical Methods and Models
Stephen M. Cox
Statistics play an important role in criminal justice research and policy making. Every day, the public is exposed to a vast amount of information regarding crime and criminal justice. This information commonly takes the form of news reports, political speeches and campaigns, public opinion surveys on issues like the death penalty or drug legalization, and debates with friends and family members about crime-related issues. The majority of the information presented in these contexts is based on numbers (i.e., statistics), such as crime rates, arrests made by the police, number of people in prison, length of prison sentences, or victimization rates. The use of statistics allows us to collect a large amount of quantitative data, organize it, and search for trends that may help explain what is going on in the world around us. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Behavioral Science Unit is responsible for creating psychological and ...