Victims rational decision: A theoretical and empirical explanation of dark figures in crime statistics

Aikins Amoako ASIAMA*, Hua ZHONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


A victim’s decision to report the incidence of crime to the police is a significant determinant in the fight against dark figures in official crime data. When victims decline to disclose crimes to the police, the criminal justice system’s capabilities are severely undermined, and one of its most vital functions (to deter crime) is undermined. However, not reporting an incidence of crime to the police is subjective decision victims mostly make based on personal analysis of “cost” and “benefits” associated with such report. Therefore, to understand victims’ rational decisions in crime reporting, binary logistic regression is used to predict the likelihood of reporting the incident of crime to the police using the assumptions of rational choice theory, and data from National Crime Panel Victimization Data (2018). The findings of the study showed that victims would be willing to report the incidence of a crime if they can recognize the identity of the offender and if such crimes are considered serious/dangerous. Victims may feel danger in situations like this and be “compelled” to report the crime to the police because of the high cost associated with not reporting. However, not when the same crime is committed repeatedly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2029249
Number of pages15
JournalCogent Social Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.


  • crime incidence
  • dark figures
  • police
  • rational choice
  • reporting


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