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This report expands on the work of an earlier National Research Council panel whose report, Understanding Violence Against Women, was published in 1996. The report is based on the presentations and deliberations of a workshop convened in January 2002, at the request of Congress, to develop a detailed research agenda on violence against women. While some of the research recommendations in the earlier report have been funded and carried out, the workshop demonstrated that important gaps remain. For example, prevalence and incidence data are still inadequate to measure trends or to reveal whether interventions being designed under federal programs are, in fact, working. Among its primary recommendations, the committee underscored the importance of strengthening the data and research infrastructure in this area, especially the need for better prevalence data and longitudinal data to determine the causes of violent victimization of women and the impact of interventions.
Ballistic Imaging assesses the state of computer-based imaging technology in forensic firearms identification. The book evaluates the current law enforcement database of images of crime-related cartridge cases and bullets and recommends ways to improve the usefulness of the technology for suggesting leads in criminal investigations. It also advises against the construction of a national reference database that would include images from test-fires of every newly manufactured or imported firearm in the United States. The book also suggests further research on an alternate method for generating an investigative lead to the location where a gun was first sold: "microstamping," the direct imprinting of unique identifiers on firearm parts or ammunition.
How should the war on drugs be fought? Everyone seems to agree that the United States ought to use a combination of several different approaches to combat the destructive effects of illegal drug use. Yet there is a remarkable paucity of data and research information that policy makers require if they are to create a useful, realistic policy package -- details about drug use, drug market economics, and perhaps most importantly the impact of drug enforcement activities.
Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs recommends ways to close these gaps in our understanding -- by obtaining the necessary data on drug prices and consumption (quantity in addition to frequency); upgrading federal management of drug statistics; and improving our evaluation of prevention, interdiction, enforcement, and treatment efforts.
The committee reviews what we do and do not know about illegal drugs and how data are assembled and used by federal agencies. The book explores the data and research information needed to support strong drug policy analysis, describes the best methods to use, explains how to avoid misleading conclusions, and outlines strategies for increasing access to data. Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs also discusses how researchers can incorporate randomization into studies of drug treatment and how state and local agencies can compare alternative approaches to drug enforcement.
Charting a course toward a better-informed illegal drugs policy, this book will be important to federal and state policy makers, regulators, researchers, program administrators, enforcement officials, journalists, and advocates concerned about illegal drug use.
Most major crime in this country emanates from two major data sources. The FBIa (TM)s Uniform Crime Reports has collected information on crimes known to the police and arrests from local and state jurisdictions throughout the country. The National Crime Victimization Survey, a general population survey designed to cover the extent, nature, and consequences of criminal victimization, has been conducted annually since the early1970s. This workshop was designed to consider similarities and differences in the methodological problems encountered by the survey and criminal justice research communities and what might be the best focus for the research community. In addition to comparing and contrasting the methodological issues associated with self-report surveys and official records, the workshop explored methods for obtaining accurate self-reports on sensitive questions about crime events, estimating crime and victimization in rural counties and townships and developing unbiased prevalence and incidence rates for rate events among population subgroups.
The shooting at Columbine High School riveted national attention on
violence in the nation's schools. This dramatic example signaled an
implicit and growing fear that these events would continue to
occur--and even escalate in scale and severity.
For years proposals for gun control and the ownership of firearms have been among the most contentious issues in American politics. For public authorities to make reasonable decisions on these matters, they must take into account facts about the relationship between guns and violence as well as conflicting constitutional claims and divided public opinion. In performing these tasks, legislators need adequate data and research to judge both the effects of firearms on violence and the effects of different violence control policies. Readers of the research literature on firearms may sometimes find themselves unable to distinguish scholarship from advocacy. Given the importance of this issue, there is a pressing need for a clear and unbiased assessment of the existing portfolio of data and research. "Firearms and Violence uses conventional standards of science to examine three major themes--firearms and violence, the quality of research, and the quality of data available. The book assesses the strengths and limitations of current databases, examining current research studies on firearm use and the efforts to reduce unjustified firearm use and suggests ways in which they can be improved.
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