Crime statistics involve compiling crime-record in order to relate them time to time, place and circumstances. It tells about the magnitude of crime and the extent to which they change in terms of time, place and location. It also depicts the picture of spread of crimes in various locations. It reflects upon the ascending or descending trends in crime and also gives information as to how new types of crime are evolving with the older crimes being vanished or altered. Thus crime statistics are the indices of intensity of crimes recorded annually in a particular country, region or place. The role of crime statistics in analyzing the causes of crime and in developing anti-crime measures should therefore not be overemphasized. It helps law enforcement in identifying the preponderance of crime at a particular time, place and region.
Describing the need for statistics in the field of Criminology Donald Taft, an American Criminologist, was of the opinion that the counting, measuring and collecting the phenomenon under study is the basic process in modern scientific approach of criminal science.
The police, court and prison are the three main sources of Crime Statistics. These agencies collect statistics of crime and criminals and forward them to the State department and the Central Bureau of Crime Statistics compiles them and publishes the report on behalf of the government.
Thorston Selling observed that police records are more reliable index than arrest statistics, the arrest statistics are more reliable than court statistics and the court statistics are more reliable than the prison statistics.
The statistics pertaining to drug trafficking and narcotics at the national and international level are compiled by the Narcotics Control Bureau constituted under the Ministry of Finance in 1985, which enables the enforcement agencies to intensify their efforts to smash major national and international gang of drugs traffickers and provide adequate investigations and intelligence support at vulnerable points such as borders, areas, sea-shores and airports etc.
The statistics on juvenile delinquency and probation are published by the Social Welfare Department of the States and the Department of Social Defense functioning under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi. While, some states, notably Gujarat have an independent department of correctional services for rehabilitation and after care of offenders.
The statistics of crime and criminal are most difficult of all statistics and hardly present factual crime position. Although dishonest figures are by no means known in crime statistics, it is probably that the largest number of statistical studies is compiled by those desiring to inform rather than misinform.