COMPARING CRIME DATA IN EUROPE
Official Crime Statistics and Survey Based Data
The second half of the 20th century has witnessed a watershed in the systematic study of crime. Until then, crime estimates were locked up in an administrative monopoly: the only available figures resulted from counting the activities of various criminal justice agencies. By contrast, from then on, alternative measurement methods were developed based on general population surveys, which severed the crime estimates’ dependency on the operation of the police or the courts.
However, widening the range of the tools used for measuring crime will only be fruitful if their consideration proceeds beyond mere juxtaposition, towards genuine comparison.
This volume accounts for the comparisons performed in a number of European countries between official criminal statistics and victimisation surveys. Bruno Aubusson de Cavarlay has taken stock of research in France, Joachim Obergfell-Fuchs in Germany, Giovanni Sacchini in Italy, Karin Wittebrood in the Netherlands, Mike Hough and Paul Norris in the United Kingdom, finally Sandrine Haymoz, Marcelo Aebi, Martin Killias and Philippe Lamon in Switzerland. The synthesis for all these countries has been drawn by Jan Van Dijk. Philippe Robert coordinated the volume.
This comparison was carried out in one of the workpackages of a Coordination Action (CRIMPREV, see www.crimprev.eu) funded by the European Commission (under FP6) under the leadership of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS, Groupe européen de recherches sur les normativités – GERN). This workpackage (coordinated by Philippe Robert and Renée Zauberman) includes three more European overviews pertaining to victimisation and insecurity surveys, self reported crime and deviance surveys and finally evaluative research on safety and crime prevention policies.
This European comparison will be useful for public policies decision makers at various governmental levels (European, national, regional, local), for crime prevention NGOs, for journalists, and for academics, researchers and students.