DARK FIGURE OF CRIME
Dark figure of crime is the amount of crime which is unreported or unknown. There
is a dark figure of crime which is committed, but does not appear in the criminal
The total amount of crime in a community consists of crimes which are known or
recorded and the dark figure of crime.
Criminologists have used differing methods (like victimization surveys) to try to decrease the amount
of unknown (dark figure) or unrecorded crime.
Considering the notion of a dark figure of crime is based on a positivist approach
to criminology and assumes that crime is real or objective.
The 'dark figure' of crime which is not some sinister character but a theory that
postulates that we do not know how much crime is out there and with current methods of
studying the phenomenon of crime we have no way of knowing the truth.
The Uniform Crime Report and the National Crime Victimization Survey are widely
known sources of crime statistics, offering an analysis of crime data. But, there is no
equivalent measure of campus crime at the national level. Therefore, campus crime is known
as the dark figure of crime or the unknown crime.
Research Strategy for Bringing to Light the Dark Figure of Campus Crime: Journal:
Campus Law Enforcement Journal Volume:34 Issue:6 Dated:November/December 2004 Pages:32-34,
Giuseppe M. Fazari Ph.D. - Editor(s): Karen E. Breseman National Institute of
Abstract: The Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and the National Crime Victimization Survey
(NCVS) are two widely known sources of crime statistics, offering an analysis of crime
data. However, there is no equivalent measure of campus crime at the national level.
Campus crime is known as the dark figure of crime or the unknown crime. This research
article attempts to develop a methodology in examining campus crime to mitigate a previous
failure (the Jeanne Clery Act) to account for campus crime. It demonstrates the
consequences of such a void by examining the differences between undergraduate incident
reports and survey responses of theft victimization (a prevalent campus crime). First it
begins by reviewing existing literature which substantiates the need for a methodology
examining the dark figure of campus crime. The method for this research was centered on
the binary approach in determining the rate and extent of unreported crime at a
northeastern university with 4,800 undergraduate students. The results show that thefts
were the most prevalent victimization among undergraduates and that a majority of victims
did not report the crime to university authorities. The results also show that generic
strategies aimed at increasing the reporting rate among theft victims may be of no
benefit. However, through the binary design administrations can appropriately and
genuinely address the campus crime problem.