Five Methods for Measuring Unobserved Events: A Case Study of Federal Law Enforcement

 

Five Methods for Measuring Unobserved Events: A Case Study of Federal Law Enforcement

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 - 13:04
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Law enforcement can face tough measurement challenges, but the fields of statistics and econometrics have developed a framework for dealing with them and it is useful to begin with a brief overview of that framework.

All violations of a federal law can be thought of as elements of a prospective data population. The scope of the population can be defined
in various ways—e.g., immigrants illegally entering the United States in a calendar year, or the illegal drugs smuggled across the southwest land border between the United States and Mexico. To effectively manage their operations, federal law enforcement officials need insight into these unobserved violations; i.e., they need to know the properties or parameters of this population of data, such as its size and
distribution.

Five methods that can assist government performance analysts in estimating basic information on unobserved events are introduced and described here.

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