Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 309-322

First online:

Offense seriousness scaling: An alternative to scenario methods

  • James P. LynchAffiliated withDepartment of Justice, Law and Society, School of Public Affairs, The American University
  • , Mona J. E. DannerAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University

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The use of crime scenarios in sample surveys is the principal method for assessing public valuations of crime seriousness. The adequacy of this method is heavily dependent upon the a priori assumptions of the researchers constructing these scenarios. If crucial attributes of crime incidents are omitted from these descriptions of a crime, then resulting seriousness scores and weights will be in error. This paper proposes an alternative method of assessing crime seriousness—the Hedonic Price Index approach—that is not as dependent upon the prior assumptions of those building scenarios. This approach can be used as a complement to scenario methods to further our understanding of the evaluation of crime seriousness.

Key words

seriousness scaling scenarios seriousness scores