Comparison Between Japanese Crime Data and the UCR Concerning Validity and Reliability Problems

Won-Kyu Park, Kitakyushu University

This paper attempts to compare Japanese police statistics with the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) concerning validity and reliability problems. Five major issues are examined as follows: (1) dark figure or underreporting of crime problem, (2) official counting process of crime, (3) the composition of the crime index, (4) law enforcement decision making and crime recording practices, and (5) the proper population base for computing crime rates. While comparative criminologists generally agree that Japanese crime statistics are high in quality or they are more accurate than the UCR, this author concludes that this general agreement is of dubious value. Consequently, in using official data for estimating the true extent of crime patterns, the comparative researcher should be cautious about the data interpretation.

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Updated 05/20/2006