Dimensions of the Dark Figure of Unreported Crime

Wesley G. Skogan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


A great deal of criminal activity in America goes unrecorded, largely because it is not reported to the police. This pool of unrecorded crime has several consequences: it limits the deterrent capability of the criminal justice system, it contributes to the misallocation of police resources, it renders victims ineligible for public and private benefits, it affects insurance costs, and it helps shape the police role in society. This report examines these problems in light of new crime-victim data gathered in a national sample of the general population. The data suggest that, compared with those incidents which were reported to the police, the reservoir of unreported crime contains a disproportionate number of less serious incidents involving small financial loss, little serious injury, and less use of weapons. Race, in particular, was unrelated to the reporting of crime in the United States in 1973.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-50
Number of pages10
JournalCrime & Delinquency
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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