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The risk of detection

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The clearance rate is often used as an indicator of the risk of detection, in spite of the fact that these are different matters. This article suggests a method to make estimates of the risk of detection based on information from the Swedish crime statistics. The risk of detection is expressed as a function of the dark figure. Empirical estimates of the risk are given for drunken driving, residential burglary, and assault between strangers. These estimates are followed up with some calculations concerning the impact of crime activity level on the risk of getting caught. One major conclusion of the findings is that the risk of detection varies very moderately with the dark figure. This means that if there is some knowledge of the dark figure, it is often possible to make fairly good estimates of the risk of detection.

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Ahlberg, J., Knutsson, J. The risk of detection. J Quant Criminol 6, 117–130 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01065293

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Key words

  • risk of detection
  • clearance rate
  • method
  • drunken driving
  • burglary
  • assault