ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CRIMINAL LAW, THE 'DARK FIGURE', VICTIMIZATION, AND THE SCALE OF DRUG ABUSE
The article presents the results of the victimology oriented survey carried out in early 2000 in the Katowice and Chorzow regions (SE Poland). The respondents of 414 questionnaires, completed by under- and post-graduate students at the University of Silesia's Law and Administration Department and students of local high schools, were asked not only whether they had been victims of crime of various kinds but also whether the perpetrator had been punished. It turned out that the effectiveness of law, that is, the percentage of crimes punished to the total number of crimes actually committed, amounted to 3.33%. The findings of our survey were as follows. The dark figure for the total number of crimes actually committed and the whole of the period in question amounted in absolute terms to 1,492 and for unreported offenses to 1,263. For 1999 the corresponding counts came to 562 and 488 respectively. In index-measured terms the number of offenses actually committed per number of the reported amounted, for the whole period in question, to 6.5 and for 1999 to 7.6. The number of offenses actually committed per number of the punished (after deducting offenses committed in 1999 since it is hardly likely that any of these would already have been punished in early 2000) amounted to 30. Considerable attention was given to determining the structure of offenses committed, reported and punished and to the structure of offenses committed to the injury of different categories of victims (men, women, high school students, undergraduates, doctoral students). The most significant was that the most frequent victims of offenses against the person are males and persons in the younger age group; the same pattern holds for robberies with violence of which females are only exceptionally the victims (only three cases in the whole of the material gathered by the survey). By contrast, females and persons in the older age group are the most frequent victims of simple larceny. Our survey also indicated the scale of drug abuse. The respondents were asked to state the number of contacts they had had with persons using drugs and with dealers or producers of drugs. Within the whole group studied contacts with consumers of drugs were reported by 49.0% of the respondents and contacts with drug dealers or producers by 25.1%. These contacts were much more frequent among the high school students (67.4% and 39.3% respectively) than among the undergraduates and doctoral students (27.4% and 8.6%).
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