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Thread: Victims of Crime--- An International Comparison

  1. #1
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    Courtesy of
    http://ruljis.leidenuniv.nl/group /jfcr/www/icvs/introduction/introductionpage.htm

    (Leiden University, Netherlands)

    "Introduction

    The International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS) is the most farreaching programme of standardised sample surveys to look a householders’ experience with crime, policing, crime prevention and feelings of unsafety in a large number of countries. This page summarises the development of the ICVS.

    There were two main reasons for setting up this project. The first was the inadequacy of offences recorded by the police for comparing crime in different countries. The second was the absence of any alternative standardised measure.

    Police figures are problematic for comparative purposes because the vast majority of incidents the police know about are notified by victims, and any differences in propensity to report in different countries will undermine the comparability of the amount of crime counted by the police. Moreover, official police figures vary because of differences in legal definitions, recording practices, and precise rules for classifying and counting incidents. These limitations are well-established. A number of countries have independently mounted crime or ‘victimisation’ surveys to asses national crime problems- and the ICVS mirrors their approach. Such surveys ask representative samples of the population about selected offences they have experienced over a given time. They are interested in incidents are whether or not reported to the police, and indeed, the reasons why people do and do not choose to notify the police. They thus provide both a more realistic count of how many people are affected by crime and - if the surveys are repeated- a measure of trends in crime, unaffected by changes in victims’ reporting behaviour or administrative changes in recording crime.

    By collecting social and demographic information on respondents questioned, crime surveys also allow analysis of how risks of crime vary for different groups within the populations, in terms of age, income levels etc.The independent national and local surveys looked promising for comparative studies, and a few attempts were made to use them. However, the number of countries with appropriate surveys was limited, and the surveys used different methods, making comparisons far from straightforward.

    It was inevitable, then, that as more was understood about the effect of methodology on how much and what is counted, a case would be made for a fully standardised survey in different countries which would use the same questionnaire, similar methods of sampling selection, consistent survey procedures, and the same method of data analysis."


    Some conclusions---

    Percentage victimized once or more

    Country
    ...........Assaults & Threats
    ...................Sexual Incidents
    ................................Burglaries
    ........................................Robberies

    3 Australia.....6.4....4.0.....3.9........1.2
    4 Austriaa......2.1....3.8.....0.9........0.2
    5 Belgium.......3.2....1.1.....2.0........1.0
    6 Canada........5.3....2.1.....2.3........0.9
    7 Denmark.......3.6....2.5.....3.1........0.7
    8 England
    and Wales.......6.1....2.7.....2.8........1.2
    9 Finland.......4.2....3.7.....0.3........0.6
    10 France.......4.2....1.1.....1.0........1.1
    11 West Germany
    ......................3.1....2.8.....1.3......0.8

    12 Italy........0.8....1.7.....2.4........1.3
    13 Japan........0.4....1.2.....1.1........0.1
    14 Netherlands
    ................3.4....3.0.....1.9........0.8
    15 New Zealand
    ....................5.7....2.7.....4.3........0.7
    16 Northern Ireland
    ....................3.0....0.6.....1.7........0.1
    17 Norway.......3.0....2.2.....0.7........0.5
    18 Poland.......2.8....0.5.....2.0........1.8
    19 Portugal.....0.9....0.6.....1.4........1.1
    20 Scotland.....6.1....1.1.....1.5........0.7
    21 Spain........3.1....2.3.....1.6........3.1
    22 Sweden.......3.8....2.6.....1.7........0.9
    23 Switzerland
    ....................2.4....2.1.....1.1........0.7
    24 United States
    ....................3.4....1.5.....1.8........0.6

    * * * *

    Make some comparisons.

    Surprising, eh???

    Alan

    [ 01-27-2006, 03:05 PM: Message edited by: Alan D. Hyde ]

  2. #2
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    Alan that's interesting, but it would be a lot easier to read if it weren't all bold.

  3. #3
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    OK, Keith, I replaced the bold with italics.

    I wished to make it clear which portion was a direct quotation.

    Hope that helps...

    Alan

  4. #4
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    "They thus provide both a more realistic count of how many people are affected by crime and - if the surveys are repeated- a measure of trends in crime, unaffected by changes in victims’ reporting behaviour or administrative changes in recording crime."
    I understand the problems with relying upon police reports of violent crime, in terms of underreporting... but I question whether the methods used in this particular study are any more reliable. People are quite prone to empathizing with the role of 'victim' and may indeed over-report such incidences... and the response would probably be critically affected in the way the survey was worded. As for the argument that repeated studies would indicate the trending of violent crime, that would be true of studies based on police reports, as well.

    As for the data itself, I have little or no opinion. It shows a few developed countries, like Canada, with meaninfully worse crime... at least as percieved by the study participants... but I'm not sure if any real conclusions can be drawn. Do studies based on police reports show the same relative distributions of crime vs. countries? Or do they contradict it?

  5. #5
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    I can understand why the left out murders (there are presumably fewer issues with how they are reported), BUT, when using the data from this study to compare crime rates in different countries it is clearly important to consider the murder rate too.

  6. #6
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    How do they control for the culturally different perceptions of the residents of the various countries in question? I remember that the EuroBarometer studies had increasing difficulty on that score, at least in the opinion of the stats prof I studied them with some 25 years ago ...

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