Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



This Article examines the information systems that are available to the American public. Part H of the Article discusses crime information sources and limitations arising from their excessive dependence upon the same sources of information. Parts III and IV of the Article focus on the information and methods that American society depends upon to determine the amount and seriousness of"serious" crime. These parts of the Article criticize society's present modes of crime assessment by evaluating public perceptions of crime under several standards for determining the amount of harm that results from different criminal acts. In part V, the Article examines traditional perceptions about offenders and their pat-terns of offending and suggests that group and juvenile offenses are more prevalent and more serious than the public and the government consider them to be. Finally, the Article concludes in part VI that the crime reporting system has paid insufficient attention to juvenile offenders and to crimes of violence against property. This part concludes that the shortcomings of inaccurate and incomplete crime information pose problems for both the effectiveness of criminal justice systems and the communities that these systems attempt to safeguard.