Methods of legal statistics

Legal statistics is developing its own specific methods designed to study the quantitative side of crime and related social phenomena and processes. The specific content of these methods is significantly influenced by the general theory of law.

The specific methods by which legal statistics studies its subject include:

1) mass statistical observation;

2) summary and grouping of data obtained during observation, according to qualitatively defined features;

3) statistical quantitative analysis of summarized and ungrouped indicators;

4) comprehensive qualitative analysis of statistical materials.

The listed methods, forming an organically unified process of statistical research, are sometimes referred to as its stages or stages, since each subsequent method, as a rule, can be applied using the indicators of the previous one. Therefore, any statistical and legal survey will be considered complete and completed only when it is composed of the above main stages (stages, methods).

The method of mass statistical observation in relation to legal statistics means that only by studying a large number of crimes, offenses, torts, subjects of these actions, etc., it is possible to establish objective patterns in crime in its causality, in law enforcement activities of law enforcement agencies. The study of single phenomena or in small quantities due to random deviations does not allow us to identify real patterns. During mass observation, random fluctuations are mutually canceled out and consequences due to common causes remain.

It has long been noted that crimes or other legally significant phenomena, taken on a large scale, reveal the same regularity in their number and classification as natural phenomena. Therefore, for a truly scientific foundation of statistical facts, it is necessary to take not individual facts, even very important ones, but the entire set of facts related to the issue under consideration, otherwise suspicion may arise about their biased selection.

To obtain objective results, statistical observation must cover either the entire (in statistics, the general) set of phenomena studied, or such part of it that would be sufficiently representative (representative). The scientific basis in this case is the law of large numbers, which allows you to calculate the possible error with an incomplete study of the facts.

Summary and grouping of observational data according to qualitatively defined features is the next specific method (stage) of legal statistics. Data obtained through statistical observation, communities. In order to penetrate into the essence of the observed phenomena, they must be brought together and ungrouped according to the characteristics we need, so that each group represents a certain qualitative homogeneity. Summary and grouping of data allows you to see the structure of the studied phenomena, their similarities and differences. This method allows you to see the unity of both quantitative and qualitative, in a given set.

Statistical quantitative analysis allows you to deepen the study, establish and measure the patterns and interdependencies of mass legal, criminological and sociological phenomena. The results of a statistical study at this stage are expressed as percentages, coefficients, indices and other general indicators that do not include private, individual or random deviations. They reveal the main trends, typical features, correlations, characteristics.

A comprehensive qualitative analysis of legal quantitative phenomena is used at all stages of statistical research: in observation, in grouping, and in quantitative analysis. Qualitative analysis is fundamental. Departure from it can lead the researcher into captivity of mechanistic ideas and scholastic calculations.

A scientific approach to statistical data, the ability to analyze them on the basis of theory and combine them with a deep qualitative analysis of the facts being studied is a fundamental method that can extract an objective answer to the questions posed from quantitative indicators.

The use of a comprehensive qualitative analysis in specific statistical and legal studies involves understanding the essence of the analyzed processes based on the theoretical provisions of civil and criminal law, criminology, etc., and the subsequent deepening of the theory of these sciences or the improvement of legal practice based on the results obtained.

The basis of any statistical study is a qualitative analysis of the phenomena under study in order to establish trends and patterns of their development in specific conditions of place and time.

When conducting specific statistical, legal and other legal statistical studies, the considered specific methods are organically included in the methodology of those sciences and their sociological sections that legal statistics serves, being modified with the specific tasks of each legal science.

For the legal sciences, the reality is social relations regulated by law, as well as social relations that have one or another legal significance. Only on this basis of an in-depth study of objective social relations can various legal studies develop, the norms of law can be developed and refined.

Statistics in general, and legal statistics in particular, on the one hand, is a factual basis, and on the other hand, one of the main methods of social and legal knowledge. This conclusion can be extended to all branches of legal science.

Often, from the point of view of formal logic, the nature of the legal solution to a particular issue seems obvious, but in real life it does not work. To develop a realistic and effective solution, it is necessary to study the social needs of possible legal regulation, its perception by citizens and the objective conditions for its implementation.

Various branches of law, legal science and practice are served differently by legal statistics. It depends on the level of development of quantitative accounting of phenomena in a particular legal area, objective needs and established practice.

Traditionally, legal statistics is widely used in the system of sciences of the criminal law cycle: criminology, criminal and executive law, prosecutorial supervision, forensic science, forensic psychiatry and forensic medicine. This is facilitated by the relatively high level of development of practical accounting and reporting in the system of various law enforcement agencies. Reporting in civil and administrative proceedings is less developed than in criminal proceedings. However, this is not a serious reason to ignore the statistical methods of cognition of reality by the mentioned cycles of legal sciences.

Criminal and criminological statistics, reflecting the quantitative side of committed crimes and related social phenomena and processes, provides the science and practice of fighting crime with the necessary empirical information, being the factual basis, without relying on which it is impossible to conduct a purposeful, scientifically based fight against crime in the country. .

Criminal and criminological statistics provide evidence for all the main areas of this work:

1) the study of the criminological characteristics of crime, and together with sociology – criminal law – and the study of criminal activity;

2) study of the causes and conditions of crimes;

3) study of the criminological characteristics of the personality of offenders;

4) predicting crime and individual criminal behavior;

5) planning and organizing the fight against criminal offenses;

6) verification of the effectiveness of the fight against criminal manifestations.

The criminological characteristic, which includes the state, structure and dynamics of registered crimes, their “geography” (distribution by territories), as well as latent crime and other indicators, is relatively fully reflected in the statistical reporting and analytical statistical documents of the criminal justice bodies on the state of affairs in country, subjects of the Federation, city, district. This allows you to reasonably solve many issues of organizing the fight against crime.

One of the complex statistical problems is the study of socially dangerous activities with a view to their possible subsequent criminalization. The causes and conditions of crimes, the criminological characteristics of the personality of offenders, although to a lesser extent, are also reflected in statistical records, especially in primary records of the crime and the person who committed it.

For criminological forecasting, first of all, a reliable statistical base is needed that reflects crime, its causes and social deviations in the personality of offenders. Based on the trends and patterns of change in crime and related criminogenic factors, it is possible with a certain degree of probability to predict how criminal manifestations will develop in the near future.

Criminal and criminological statistics make it possible to most optimally plan the distribution of forces and means of combating criminal manifestations. Based on statistical indicators on the level of crime, the capabilities of operational and investigative workers and other data, the staffing of law enforcement agencies and their allowable individual workload are planned.

The most important activity in crime control is its prevention. The success of the latter lies in the extent to which the nature and system of measures taken correspond to the content and totality of statistically identified causes.

The great criminological significance of statistics also lies in the fact that it is a specific feedback system. Each time, newly obtained statistical materials give grounds to judge how deeply criminal manifestations and their causes were studied, prognostic conclusions were adequately made, measures to combat crime were optimally planned, and how effective these measures turned out to be.

Conclusion

In all areas that are served by legal statistics, scientific research is carried out. Here, too, it is one of the important sources of information that supplies legal science with factual data for subsequent theoretical generalization. So that scientific research does not have a purely speculative dogmatic character, they must always be based on criminal and criminological statistics.

Acting as the actual basis for the scientific organization of the fight against crime, criminal and criminological statistics must meet the high requirements of modern information systems. Unfortunately, many years of ideologization of social life and statistical information about it led to the embellishment of reality, and in this respect statistics often played an unseemly role. Crime statistics in our country are still not sufficiently reliable and objective due to the presence of a high proportion of latent crime, which is formed, among other things, by the unscrupulous activities of law enforcement agencies. Objectivization of accounting for crime and criminal record, its complete transfer to a paperless basis, the use of modern high-speed electronic computers in statistical analysis and the wide publication of statistical indicators for public evaluation can significantly increase the role of criminal and criminological statistics in the fight against crime and in the development of the legal sciences of the criminal cycle. .

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