Book Review: How Countries Count Crime: An Exercise in Police Discretion by J. A. Eterno, A. Verma, & E.B. Silverman (Eds.)

Published date01 June 2024
AuthorN. Prabha Unnithan
Date01 June 2024
Subject MatterBook Reviews
gives some background to the aggregated data that is provided elsewhere. This also demonstrates the
main drawback of the book. The case studies come at the end of the book (chapter 9). Most of the
book discusses the issues of gender inequality in the aggregate. For example, the authors state
Prohibitions of discrimination against women with family responsibilities are more common in
high-income countries (62%) compared to middle- and low-income countries (45% and 44%, respec-
tively) (chapter 2, p. 45).The aggregation is understandable. After all, the book is attempting to see
how laws around the world affect gender inequality. The authors often provide a small amount of
detail about a specif‌ic country, but nothing in any detail. The lack of a case study in each section
leaves the reader trying to put the arguments into some context.
The above-mentioned issue aside, the book is highly recommended. Heymann, Sprague, and Raub
provide an enormous amount of detail on laws around the world. The authors do an excellent job
explaining how each law has direct and indirect effects on gender inequality. Many of the arguments
will be of interest to policymakers and legal scholars. Yet, social scientists, such as sociologists and
economists, could benef‌it from understanding how a law can change cultural and social norms.
Matthew D. Moore
Eterno, J. A., Verma, A. & Silverman, E.B. (Eds.) (2023).
How Countries Count Crime: An Exercise in Police Discretion. Routledge. 239 pp. $160 (hardback); $50.36
(paperback); $50.36 (e-book). ISBN: 9780367489625.
Reviewed by: N. Prabha Unnithan ,Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
DOI: 10.1177/10575677231206772
The editors and authors of the book How Countries Count Crime:An Exercise in Police
Discretion focus on how off‌icial crime statistics are collected and analyzed by police organizations
and personnel in f‌ifteen countries from across the globe. The three editors provide a brief general
introduction at the beginning and have also participated in writing two of the f‌ifteen chapters.
Eighteen other authors, who are a mix of academics and police practitioners, have described how
various countries they are knowledgeable about count crime.Each substantive chapter depicts
the practices that generate crime statistics in one country. The nations included in this compendium
are Austria, France, Grenada, India, Mexico, Netherlands (specif‌ically, The Hague), Nigeria,
Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, England and Wales, and the United
States. Little published information is available on a few of the aforementioned countries and
their presence here constitutes welcome additions for those interested in comparative criminal
justice. Countries in East and Southeast Asia along with South America go unrepresented. Each
chapter ends with a list of discussion questions which suggests that the book is probably meant
for students although the publishers blurb suggests it is intended for a wide range of audiences.
The editors, in their introduction, are hopeful that the contributions will describe existing formal
procedures for logging and aggregating crime in each of the countries included. In addition, they
believe contributions will provide answers to analytical questions such as whether democratic
norms are followed; how victims are treated; how discretion in recording complaints is exercised;
and, whether collected information is used to facilitate data-drivenpolicing. The editors also
suggest that knowing how a country organizes its procedures for counting crime permits us to, in
a sense, understand a society(p. 3). Reading through the various chapters, it is safe to say that
most have accomplished the goal of describing how crime is noted and recorded in the country
168 International Criminal Justice Review 34(2)

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