The interest of the discipline in explaining the attribution of severity to offenses has been enduring but the methods of the past have contributed little to our understanding of the concept of severity and its components. This study introduces a new method designed to address the methodological and theoretical concerns of working criminologists. Randomly selected respondents sorted index cards containing descriptions of specific crimes. First, they grouped the cards by perceived similarity of offenses, then they ranked the offenses within each group according to perceived severity. The authors, after applying smallest space analysis to the results of the card sort, conclude that two discrete variables account jointly for the perception of crime severity by the citizen: Presence of criminal intent and degree of injury. The implications of replacing unidimensional methods with this new approach are discussed.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 1986|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science