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Understanding crime data through a cooperative learning activity
Crime scene tape
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measuring crime
crime trends
team-based learning

How to Cite

Warner, Cody. 2024. “Understanding Crime Data through a Cooperative Learning Activity”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, April. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


The amount of crime in our society, if that amount is going up or down, and what that all means has become a contested and contentious issue. In this small-group activity, students in criminology or criminal justice courses use the jigsaw method to learn about crime data and crime trends by collaborating to create descriptive handouts about crime....

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Subject Area(s):
Criminal Justice, Criminology/Delinquency
Resource Type(s):
Class Activity
Class Level(s):
College 100, College 200, College 300, College 400
Class Size(s):
Medium, Small

Usage Notes

The included documents provide a description of the jigsaw approach, the specific steps to complete this activity, the activity prompt for students to follow, and a blank group handout. Any of the research tasks at the center of the activity can be modified or changed to different tasks to fit the needs of a different instructor. It is important to...

Download this resource to see full details. Download this resource to see full details.

Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Students will be able to describe sources of crime data.
  2. Students will be able to discuss strengths and weaknesses of crime data.
  3. Students will be able to identify recent trends in crime.
  4. Students will work collaboratively to produce a handout on crime data and trends in crime.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Student handouts will contain concise descriptions of how crime and victimization data are collected and made available to the public.
  2. Student handouts will document the strengths and weaknesses of various sources of crime data, noting the implications for conclusions about crime.
  3. Student handouts will include information indicating if crime is going up or down over both short- and long-term periods based on interactive crime data.
  4. Each group will produce a handout that accomplishes each of the above learning goals.

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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Requires Subscription PPTX
Requires Subscription DOCX

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