DOI link for Crime Seriousness
Crime Seriousness book
There is a complex, and perhaps issue-specific relationship between public priorities and government policy initiatives. For many years now, pollsters in several countries have asked members of the public to rate the importance of crime as a social problem in comparison to other social issues. Until recently, when placed in the context of other major public policy problems, crime has not assumed a very high profile in America, Great Britain or Canada. The government should also have an interest in whether societal members agree on the perceived seriousness of crimes, and whether the public's views of crime seriousness accord with legislative statutes which define the seriousness of criminal acts by associating them with penalties of varying severity. Perhaps the most important problem confronting researchers is that members of the public have unrealistic perceptions of the consequences of the different crimes.