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It is therefore, impossible to accurately pinpoint the exact level of Part I offenses either at individual sites or on a national basis.
The PRC/PMS project team considered several alternate procedures which could give reasonable estimates of the extent of Part I crimes in the parks. One alternative discussed was the use of an enforcement report produced by the State of California on the crime in its parks. It was anticipated that the results could be extrapolated to the rest of the country. This approach was rejected because (1) the data in the report appears to suffer from the same reporting problems previously cited and (2) no extrapolation procedure seems reasonable based on only
However, as indicated in Section I, of this chapter, the National Park Service (NPS) has developed a comprehensive system for recording Part I crimes based on the Uniform Crime Reporting system. Crime information is channeled to the NPS and summarized into reports showing the number of offenses reported, unfounded reports, offenses cleared, and persons arrested.
The NPS may, in fact, have a significant advantage over the Corps since it usually has exclusive jurisdiction over its territory both legally and geographically. Thus, a crime victim is more likely to report an offense to NPS authorities rather than the local authorities. Crime statistics on a national basis can then be developed for NPS parks since there is a requirement and mechanism for each NPS park to forward its statistics.
It is reasonable to assume that the NPS crime statistics can be used to approximate the amount of crime in Corps parks. Previous studies have shown that visitors to recreation areas base their choice on convenience and availability (or lack of alternatives) with "unique features" of the area being a lesser consideration. Thus, individuals seeking use of federal recreation are
areas are generally similarly-oriented; that is, an individual visiting a national park is also likely to be the type to visit a Corps reception area with the exception of more water activities at Corps lakes.
generally believed that persons visiting a national park have a longer average stay than persons visiting a Corps lake. It is more likely they will spend the night at a national park. This phenomena is a problem in trying to compare recreation day statistics between NPS and the Corps. NPS employs the following definition in developing its recreation day statistics:
Visit: The entry of any person into a national park such that he makes some use of the services or facilities provided by the National Park Service.
Overnight Stays: Park visitors in campgrounds and in commer-
The Corps uses the following definition:
Recreation Day: The attendance of one person at the project
The second problem is that it is now a well established fact, as previously discussed in this chapter, that a significant percentage of crimes are not reported by victims to any authority. Thus, the NPS crime summaries underestimate the problem as well, since only reported crimes are reflected. Victimization surveys by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration indicate that the percent of crimes reported to the police is approximately as follows:
to Police (Rp)
50% 52 42 54 31 94
*It is believed that virtually all homicides are reported.
In 1971, the NPS recorded 200,543,300 daily visits and 13,411,200 overnight stays. These data were the most currently available for the present study. It is assumed that the average length of a daily visit is eight hours and the average length of an overnight stay is 24 hours. Thus an estimated number of visitor days for NPS is given by
8(200,543, 300) + 24 (13,41
411, 200) 24
For 1971 the NPS reported the following Part I crimes:
NPS Crime Statistics (NSI(C:))
4,052 Auto Theft
For the purpose of this section crime at the Class A lakes will be estimated. According to Figure VI, the number of recreation days at these parks was 236,381,900. It is assumed that the minimum amount of time spent in a recreation day is five hours and the maximum amount of time is eight hours. Thus, the number of visitor days ranges between
Using all the information developed above, the range of the actual crime statistics can be estimated by assuming proportionality and adjusting for unreported crimes. The relationships are
x NPS (C1)
= Estimate of the minimum amount of crime type C
i the Corps lakes;
= Estimate of the maximum amount of crime type ci
the Corps lakes;
Estimate of the minimum number of visitor days at
= Estimate of the maximum number of visitor days at
Corps lakes from (5)
Number of reported crimes of type C at NPS from (3) - Estimate of the number of visitor days at NPS parks
Estimate of percent reported to the police of crime type i from (1).
Applying (6) and (7) to the NPS crime statistics gives the following estimates of crime at the Corps lakes:
Corps Crime Estimate
1,299.9 8,020.2 12,832.4 92.0
The above statistics are rough estimates of the amount of Part I crimes because of the estimation procedure involved and because no valid crime data from Corps lakes are available. However, these estimates indicate that the Corps lakes have a reasonable Part I crime problem. What these figures reveal is that on the average an estimated 75-80 serious crimes are committed at Corps class A lakes annually. Thus, on an average seasonal weekend between four and five serious crimes are committed at those lakes.
It seems apparent that one incurs a reasonable degree of risk at Corps lakes of becoming a victim of serious crime. Thus, at a lake with a weekend population of 30,000, one out of every 6,000 visitors is likely to be a victim of serious crime. The probability is far greater that this crime will be a property crime than a crime of personal violence. These rates do not apply uniformly to all lakes in the A classification, since averages are being applied and should not be considered necessarily as a representative picture of all Corps recreation areas. What should be conclusive and most significant from these estimates is the fact that a significant amount of crime is not being reported to the Corps personnel at all lakes throughout the nation, and because of this, the severity of the problem can only be generalized. One is left with the legitimate impression that the crime which is known to the Corps, as well as local law enforcement agencies surrounding Corps lakes, is only a microcosm of the actual level of crime being committed.
Overshadowing the Part I críme problem is the extent of vandalism at the lakes. Virtually all respondents to the survey indicated vandalism as a significant problem at the lakes.
Again, however, Corps incident reports provide only a partial picture of the actual level of the problem. For example, the Corps Incident Report for 1973 records 579 incidents of vandalism to government property and an additional 38 incidents involving private property for