Nous contacter|Plan du site|Mentions légales|Accès réservé

Assessing Deviance, Crime and Prevention in Europe
Version française PDF

Brochure n°1bis - Surveys on victimisation and insecurity in Europe

Renée Zauberman

Full text

In the framework of the 6th FPRTD, the European Commission financed a coordination action, Assessing Deviance, Crime and Prevention in Europe (CRIMPREV).

This coordination action is made up of six thematic workpackages, one of which is devoted to problems of Methodology and Good practices.

I. Introduction

1. The Methodology and Good Practices workpackage

The objective is to come up with a listing of the significant implementations of instruments of knowledge about crime and of their uses.

We shall therefore

map the situation in Europe,

identify the good – as well as the bad – practices, and

specify elements of comparison within the European zone.

The last half-century witnessed the appearance of powerful new instruments for knowledge about crime. Their particularity consists of emancipating research from institutional data in which the study of crime has traditionally been shut away.

Not only have these instruments renewed – at least partially – the scientific knowledge we had of crime but, even more, they can provide important help in decision-making.

For all that, their introduction has taken place quite variably in the various countries of Europe. In addition, the mastery of these instruments is rather unequally divided up insofar as the number of confirmed specialists is limited; consequently, the uses made of them are more or less relevant. Finally, non-scientific users often have only limited knowledge of these tools’ potential.

Consequently, there is room in CRIMPREV for a workpackage devoted to listing the most significant implementations of these methods in the principal European countries and the use made of them… in the hope of perfecting and distributing both states of knowledge and catalogues of good practices.

The responsibility for the workpackage is shared by two scientific centres, the French Centre de recherches sociologiques sur le droit et les institutions pénales (CESDIP) and a Barcelona group, a European network of local municipalities concerning security, the European Forum for Urban Security (FESU) and a regional coordination organism of local security programmes, Città sicure, in order to properly place it in the interface of the academic world and that of potential users.

Four methods have been selected:

surveys in the overall population on victimisation and insecurity;

surveys in the overall population on self-reported crime;

the comparison of survey data and that coming from institutional sources such as police statistics;

evaluative research of safety policies.

For each of these methods, we proceed according to the same protocol in five phases:

Phase 1: elaboration of a report grid; choice of a general rapporteur in charge of synthesising the information gathered; and rapporteurs – a half-dozen per topic – in charge of drawing up the state of knowledge and uses in different countries where the method is sufficiently developed. Of course, given problems of availability of the prospective experts, we cannot cover them all. We are not aiming at exhaustiveness but rather at presenting a reasonably representative selection of what is being done in the European zone, especially in the main countries.

Phase 2: each rapporteur writes up a review concerning the country or zone of which he/she is in charge and these documents are then circulated among all rapporteurs.

Phase 3: meeting of all rapporteurs, national and general, with the promoters of the workshop in a seminar where the reports are presented and discussed.

Phase 4: the general rapporteur writes a synthesis of the reports and discussions.

Phase 5: validation of this document by the workpackage promoters and dissemination in the form of a 50-page booklet in English and French.

2. The workshop devoted to surveys on victimisation and insecurity

We present here the summary of reviews devoted to the first workshop, pertaining to surveys on victimisation and insecurity.

The team for this first workshop was comprised of:

- Mike Hough (King’s College, London) for England and Wales,

- Lieven Pauwels (RijksUniversiteit Gent) and Stefaan Pleysier (Expertisecentrum Maatchappelijke Veiligheid KATHO University College associated with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) for the Netherlands and Belgium,

- Joachim Obergfell-Fuchs (Kriminologischer Dienst Baden-Württemberg) for the Federal Republic of Germany,

- Amadeu Recasens i Brunet (Universitat Barcelona) for Spain and Portugal,

- Giovanni Sacchini (Città Sicure) and Rossella Selmini (Città Sicure and Università degli studi di Macerata) for Italy,

- Philippe Robert (CNRS/CESDIP) for France,

- Renée Zauberman (CNRS/CESDIP), general rapporteur.

The national rapporteurs were commissioned by the workpackage’s steering committee in July 2006 and handed in their reports at the beginning of 2007. Then a three-day seminar brought together the promoters, general rapporteur and national rapporteurs for a presentation and discussion of the reports, so as to draw upon them for feeding transverse lessons into the general report.

This final synthesis thus depends on the national reports as much as on the seminar discussions.

3. Origins and development of surveys on victimisation and insecurity

When crime begins to constitute a social problem – in Europe of the second half of the 18th century – the problem of its measurement emerged immediately and it was spontaneously expressed in terms of counting courtroom activity. From the absolutist period of Enlightenment on, Archduke Peter-Leopold commissioned a survey on the activity in Tuscan courts before the adoption of the Leopoldina1; Councillor Montyon carried out another survey of convictions in the jurisdiction of the Paris Parliament2, but it was at the very beginning of the 19th century that counting became systematic. At a varying pace depending on the country, the most serious sentences at first, then all sentences, then all prosecutions and finally commitments to prison were subjected to reckoning. The French Compte général de l’administration de la justice3, published regularly as of 1827, would become the reference for European debates on measuring crime throughout the 19th century. This statistical production served both to count the activity of the courts and to measure crime4.

  • 1  Da Passano (1995).
  • 2  Lecuir (1974).
  • 3  Perrot, Robert, 1989; Robert (1993).
  • 4  Coll. (1998).

From the beginning, however, doubts were raised about the relevance of the latter use: did all situations open to being qualified as criminal come to be known to the judge in charge of determining which concrete cases corresponded to the abstract incriminations of the Law? Clearly not – for a number of reasons. How then to be content with data that were limited to listing the cases known to the judge or his auxiliaries, the Public Prosecutor or police, in charge of passing them on to him? It was for a long time assumed that the available figures ‘represented’5 reasonably well all the cases that, for one reason or another, had eluded the judge.

  • 5  In the sense that a limited population ‘represen(...)

At very most, the choice was gradually made to use the data produced as upstream as possible in the institutional process on the grounds that those were closer to the commission of the crime and therefore, their informational loss was lesser. Following the advice of Thorsten Sellin (1931), police records rather than judicial reckonings became the source of crime knowledge par excellence.

    However, persistent doubts as to the sufficiency of those institutional reckonings for knowing crime led to looking for terms of comparison in the non-criminal records of the same events. Thus the police counts of homicides were compared to the statistic of causes of death held by the health agencies of all developed countries; or the statistics on shoplifting with inventory shortage, i.e., the difference between a physical inventory and an accounting inventory… This effort to find terms of comparison to crime statistics in other sectors reached its peak in the studies on the costs of crime, already encouraged by the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (1931), called the Wickersham Commission. However, in spite of all the ingenuity thus expended, the remedy could apply only in the limited number of cases where it turned out to be possible to find terms of comparison. In addition, it often allowed for only highly approximate comparisons between overall orders of magnitude.

      Meanwhile, crime statistics remained the major tool of knowledge about crime; but doubts as to their relevance swelled at a moment when public safety policies were loosing ground in face of an unprecedented rise in petty property crime, concomitant with the entry into consumer society6.

      • 6  On this crisis in security policies, cf. Robert (...)

      Schematically, it was realised that the chances of recording an event depended on the victims’ propensity to inform the official services (reporting), the priority that the latter attached to its detection and the ease or difficulty of this detection (visibility of the author and/or his act), and finally of the willingness and ability of these institutions to handle this case effectively7... so that the ability of the official figures to ‘represent’ behaviours committed is an empirical and, moreover, variable8 matter. It appeared less and less satisfying to construct knowledge about crime on such uncertain bases.

      • 7 Cf. for example Bottomley, Coleman (1976); Robert(...)
      • 8 Cf. for example Robert (1991).

      So that producing ad hoc data instead of limiting themselves to borrowing that of the administrators was the alternative researchers finally came up with. How to carry out large-scale surveys on crime? Schematically, two approaches were tried successively: first, questioning population samples to know who had committed such and such an offence; later, inversely, asking who had been the victim.

        The Victimisation Surveys  methodology, , was inaugurated in the 1960s by experiments carried out by Al Biderman, Philip Ennis and Al Reiss Jr for a presidential commission on crime, called the Katzenbach Commission (The President’s Commission…1967)9. Its fortune was subsequently extraordinaire. No other kind of crime research had mobilised, and in a lasting way, so many specialists, funds and methodological ingenuity. For the first time, criminal science built autonomous data bases on a large scale.

        • 9  Cantor, Lynch (2000).

        After becoming routine in the United States since the 1970s, and in England and Wales a decade later, the production of victimisation surveys also intensified – at a less systematic pace, nonetheless, and to varying degrees – in different Western European countries... Since the end of the Eighties, there has also been an ambitious programme of international victimisation surveys (ICVS) launched by Jan Van Dijk, Patricia Mayhew and Martin Killias10. This kind of survey is used not only on the national or supranational levels, but the localisation of public safety policies has also led to implementing them at more local stages. New survey techniques were made use of to nurture the various local, national, and even international ‘observatories’.

        • 10  Van Dijk, Mayhew, Killias (1990); Frate, Zvecic,(...)

        Nevertherless, the practice of surveys on victimisation and insecurity is not at all homogeneous in Western Europe and, on the contrary, varies considerably from one country to the next, in quantity as well as in quality. Even though such surveys exist, the use that can be made of them also reveals considerable differences from one instance to another. Therefore, it is useful to compare, in these respects, the situation in a certain number of European countries.

          We could not select them all, and not all of them present the same interest for the subject. Moreover, we sought contrasted situations with respect to the recourse to those surveys. We also wanted to select a range of countries corresponding to different legal and institutional traditions. We finally decided on the bloc of founding members of the EEC to which were added England and Wales – where recourse to these surveys is long-standing and quite developed – and the Iberian countries. The eight countries reviewed make up an uninterrupted territorial entity representing 62% of the population of the Union in its current format. They also represent four fifths of the (ten) countries whose research centres are participating in the coordinated action. We regret only having not succeeded in introducing into this range at least one Scandinavian nation, owing to the early development of victimisation surveys in some of them like Sweden.

            On the basis of the analysis grid proposed to the national rapporteurs, we shall first attempt to describe the carrying out of victimisation and insecurity surveys and its diversity. In a second part, we shall discuss the uses that are made of them by the different categories of users.

              We are not going to attempt an analytics of national reports – which are, by the way, on the site of the coordinated action ( and which we plan to publish – but will take from them, in light of the seminar discussions, elements of common European interest.

                II. Conducting surveys on victimisation and insecurity

                The diversity of practices and the lessons that must be drawn from them can be illustrated with three characteristics of the surveys:

                  - their scope, from victimisations to the feeling of insecurity and fear of crime;

                    - their concentration or dispersal

                      - their degree of soundness.

                        1. The scope

                        The situation is quite contrasted depending on whether one considers victimisation or the sense of insecurity.


                          The range of events covered is more or less the same everywhere: vehicle crime, from thefts to vandalism, burglaries, thefts, violence, damage to property.

                            Most of the surveys agree on distinguishing between those that affect all the members of a household or living unit (vehicle crime, burglaries) and those that are more personal (thefts, violence); nonetheless, this distinction has practical importance mainly for surveys designed to interview more than one individual per household.

                              Of course, these kinds of events are looked into with more or less details:

                                While most surveys distinguish between the theft of and theft from vehicles11, not all, on the other hand, dwell on car vandalism; some make explicit the theft of two-wheeled vehicles, in other cases, we do not know clearly whether these are taken into account.

                                • 11  This is not, however, the case of French nationa(...)

                                Some surveys are limited to residential burglaries; others include those in other places (such as holiday homes or business premises).

                                  Some make a distinction between a wide variety of thefts, generally according to their location, whereas others are more succinct.

                                    Finally, damage to other property than cars is not always taken into account, or only partially.

                                      Violence constitute the category that poses the most problems owing to the large diversity of situations that the term can cover; the basic problem is that of sexual violence12 or else violence by intimates that can either be passed over, or included explicitly in the questioning on assaults or else, be the subject of specific questions. With a general question on violent victimisation, one never knows whether the respondents will mention these particular kinds of violence; with specific questioning, on the other hand, there is more chance of seeing them emerge. The reserve that often accompanies their acknowledgment sometimes has entailed the adoption of particular interviewing arrangements: the telephone survey is often presented as being more discreet than a face-to-face interview except by using a CASI procedure for the latter (the interviewer gives his or her laptop to the person being interviewed, asking him/her to type the answers).

                                      • 12  Of course, surveys focussing on violence against(...)

                                      These variations have important consequences: the events that the survey tries to grasp are often of minor importance and have happened in a more or less distant past; experience has shown that their recollection is stimulated more by detailed interrogations than by overly-general questions. However, an excess of factual details can weary the respondent and reduce the reliability of the responses. Moreover, concern about the optimal size of the questionnaire often obliges restricting the interrogations on the subjective repercussions of the victimisations although these provide valuable information, or those on the context of daily life which are often cited as key variables for understanding the level of victimisation and its impact.

                                        Nonetheless – besides observing a trend towards standardisation of victimisation questions13 –, the range of events likely to enter into this type of survey cannot be expanded much further. Certainly, some reports mention attempts at studying shoplifting in small shops, some frauds, notably consumer fraud or business crime, without overlooking the multiple incidents of school life that specific surveys generously detail… But these attempted enlargements – which sometimes encounter serious wording obstacles – do not go very far. They quickly run up against a double barrier that is difficult to surmount:

                                        • 13 Cf. for example the Obergfell-Fuchs report (2007)(...)

                                        - questions on victimisations should be phrased in a language that is likely to be understood, in approximately the same way, by all respondents;

                                          - above all, someone has to be likely to consider him- or herself the direct victim of the offence, which is not the case with victimless crime or indirect victimisation14.

                                          • 14  Nor, moreover, when victimisation makes the vict(...)

                                          Although the range of victimisation cases likely to enter into surveys is somewhat clear, and although the standardisation of these interrogations is not out of reach15, conversely, the picture is much more confused when it comes to insecurity.

                                          • 15  Nonetheless, the balance between factual questio(...)


                                          All the victimisation surveys also include questions on insecurity but in most of the reviewed countries16, there are many other surveys devoted specifically to this latter topic. They are less complicated to put together than victimisation surveys and also less expensive; finally, they do not compete with the traditional forms of crime measurement like public crime statistics and therefore do not elicit the same reticence from their administrators. This abundance is not, for all that, synonymous of wealth of information. Most of the rapporteurs have voice highly critical assessments of these investigations.

                                          • 16 Cf. for example the Sacchini, Selmini reports (20(...)

                                          On the one hand, the questions used are rarely standardised, and one often has trouble weighing their significance. On the other hand, even for the standardised questions, thinking about insecurity has not progressed sufficiently for dispelling all ambiguities in responses.

                                            In the United Kingdom, sizeable studies17 have recently re-examined this whole field from every angle and important research can also be noted in the Netherlands and Belgium18 and a heated controversy in Germany19.

                                            • 17 Cf. for example, in a very long list, Ditton, Far(...)
                                            • 18  Jackson, (2005); Pauwels, Pleysier (2005); Pleys(...)
                                            • 19  Obergfell-Fuchs Report (2007) for Germany.

                                            A tremendous effort has to be accomplished if we want the multitude of polls on insecurity to yield substantive additional knowledge.

                                              2. Concentrating or dispersing surveys

                                              The countries reviewed in the CRIMPREV seminar display a good picture of the variety of European situations: sometimes one single survey dominates the whole landscape; elsewhere, this landscape is much more fragmented, and finally, a series of intermediary instances can be observed.

                                                The Netherlands, Belgium and England and Wales well represent one extreme of this palette. Although the English rapporteur does mention a few local experiences20 – whose impact have often been notable as much in the public debate as in the advancement of scientific knowledge – they are hardly numerous, often old, and the British Crime Survey (BCS) of the Home Office Research, Development, and Statistics Directorate occupies an increasingly hegemonic position. In the Netherlands, two national systems – that of the Central Statistics Bureau, which, since 1980, has followed the experiments of the Justice Ministry’s research department, and, above all, the massive Politiemonitor Bevolking (PMB) of the Ministry of the Interior, created in 1993 – dominate the field at all levels, from national to local. Their planned merger is likely to further reinforce their hegemony. On a lesser scale, the situation is quite comparable in Belgium: local experiments run by the universities of Gent and Liege have been followed by the Ministry of the Interior’s (large) Security Monitor, copied after its Dutch homologue and present at the federal and local levels21. To this model should be attached the Italian case: most victimisation surveys are carried out by the Istituto nazionale di statistica (ISTAT) but, in fact, the mechanism is more recent and much less solidly established; it does not correspond to the investment of a central actor that would be in a hegemonic position since only a few regions – primarily Emilia-Romagnathrough Città sicure – and a few cities have really entered the field and they are the only real users of the surveys.

                                                • 20  Sparks, Genn, Dodd (1977); Smith, Gray (1985); K(...)
                                                • 21  At least to that of the towns that signed a secu(...)

                                                Inversely, federal surveys are rare and sporadic in Germany22 and, for the most part, found at the urban level at the initiative either of research institutes or, more recently, local governments in the framework of their crime prevention and safety programmes. At the level of the Spanish Estado central, only a few old attempts of the Centro de investigaciones sociologicas (CIS) are mentioned meant to carry out victimisation surveys whereas, since 1983, Barcelona has developed a system of annual surveys that was enlarged in 1999 to include all of Catalonia. In Portugal, the experiments undertaken by the Ministry of Justice in the early 1990s do not seem to have prospered; henceforth, it is the participations in the ICVS that play the role of nationwide surveys. A surveys mechanism has been developed by an Observatorio permanente de Segurança run by the University for the Municipality of Porto23.

                                                • 22  Often linked to reunification and a concern for (...)
                                                • 23  Agra, Quintas, Fonseca (2001); Agra, Queiros (20(...)

                                                The French situation is intermediate: after the isolated experiment of a national survey of academic initiative in the mid-1980s, the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) has been developing, since the mid-1990s, an annual survey on the living conditions of households including a module on victimisation; it has been recently considerably overturned and remodelled at the initiative of the Ministry of the Interior. But this survey is hardly in a hegemonic situation: there are thematic national surveys, often more solid (albeit less regular); there is still a large regional survey with regular sweeps in Île-de-France and a fair number of local surveys (of which the development prospects are not yet clear).

                                                  When all is said and done, the range of victimisation surveys that appears in the countries under study can be summed up as follows:

                                                    - general surveys




                                                            - thematic surveys concerning particular populations (young people, women…)

                                                              Obviously, the entire range is not present in all the countries under review. Moreover, certain national surveys are constructed so as to ensure a regional or local representativeness, either directly – as is henceforth the case for the BCS, whose results must be representative down to the 43 police forces level, or for the Dutch and Belgian security monitors – or by optional enlargement of the sample (in favour of certain regions or certain cities) as with ISTAT surveys. The EU ICS has provided for an automatic enlargement for the capitals of the countries included in the campaign.

                                                                To this must be added the International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS) which covered, depending on the sweep, a variable number of countries24. Reading national reports reveals very low use of these international surveys, essentially owing to the small size of samples that cannot compete with those of national surveys. The Netherlands are an exception: the interest shown in international surveys is probably due to the central role played by this country and by Jan Van Dijk in the creation of the ICVS.

                                                                • 24  Certain times, only a country’s cities are the o(...)

                                                                A specifically European version (EU ICS) was developed in 2005 by the Gallup Institute with financing from the European Commission. Even before, elements on victimisation and insecurity were to be found in the 1996 Eurobarometer (44.3) and in the European Social Surveys of 2002, 2004 and 2006.

                                                                  Behind this variety of arrangements, stand variable sources of funding.

                                                                    Generally, for the most part, they are at the national level: most often, the Ministry in charge with internal affairs (in England, the Netherlands, Belgium, in France recently), sometimes the Ministry of Justice (in the Netherlands and in France initially, Portugal), specific ministries for thematic surveys (in Germany, France, Spain, Italy for women), in certain cases, national statistic institutes (France, Italy). By no means insignificant contributions from regional or local governments (France, Catalonia, Belgium, England initially; Germany, Portugal) and finally by research funding agencies (in Germany, England and France initially) should also be mentioned.

                                                                      The high cost of these surveys is a major issue: they require large samples to avoid overly open confidence intervals, especially for infrequent types of victimisation. While national and even regional governments can easily assume such costs, the charge often turns out to be much heavier for municipalities or even large urban areas – with the exception of Barcelona, however, which has financed an annual survey for more than twenty years. The extent of costs has two kinds of consequences: on the one hand, it can stand as an obstacle to resorting to victimisation surveys by local governments which, however, often would need them; on the other hand, the hegemonic position of state or regional administrations can incline them, in certain countries, to limit the dissemination of the data to the scientific community or to filter beneficiaries.

                                                                        By contrast, surveys devoted specifically to insecurity, as they are less costly, have a much more diversified range of sponsors, even including the media or polling institutes.

                                                                          3. Varying soundness

                                                                          Various criteria can be used here: the sample, the instrument, the administration of the questionnaire, the recall period.

                                                                            The sample

                                                                            The larger it is, the less the confidence intervals will be open and the more reliable the results will be.

                                                                              From this point of view, the Politiemonitor Bevolking (PMB) probably constitutes a peak with its 88,000 respondents (out of a population of 16 million25), but the Anglo-Welsh BCS attains a high level especially since it increased to 47,000 respondents (for a population of 53 million); the same goes for the Belgian security monitor (40,000 respondents for a population of 10 million) or for the Catalan survey (approx. 14,000 for a population of 6 million) and even the surveys of the Italian ISTAT (20,000 households resulting in 60,000 respondents26 for a population of 58 million). In France, on the contrary, the samples of INSEE surveys are fairly low (6,000 households giving some 11,000 respondents for a population of 59 million in continental France). The recent Ministry of the Interior involvement granted only limited priority to enlarging the sample (rising to some 13,000 households and 26,000 respondents) preferring to concentrate its efforts on the reformatting of the questionnaire. It is on the side of regional surveys in Île-de-France (11,000 households and individuals for a population of 11 million) and Baromètres Santé (30,000 for the 2005 edition) that one finds samples of sufficient size.

                                                                              • 25  In the purity of principles, one should disregar(...)
                                                                              • 26  Besides the enlargements commissioned by some re(...)

                                                                              The instrument

                                                                              As has already been pointed out, overall, the questions about insecurity are not considered terribly satisfying. For victimisation, everything depends on the scope of the interrogations: in general, the surveys ask questions about the circumstances of the event and whether or not victims have reported the incident to the police27. The impact – especially subjective – of victimisation is included less systematically and more or less skilfully.

                                                                              • 27  Although most surveys take a more or less detail(...)

                                                                              Finally, the quality of the instrument also rests on its ability to steer between two contradictory requisites: the interview must not last too long for fear of wearying or exasperating the respondent; and yet the questionnaire must not only delve into the factual details of the victimisation incident but still leave enough room for more subjective information on the way the incident was actually experienced and on its context as well (for example, on neighbourhood characteristics and problems), failing which the exploiting of the survey will be reduced to dry counting, ultimately not particularly enlightening.

                                                                                Administering the questionnaire

                                                                                Sending a mail questionnaire – the least expensive technique – seems to be widespread only in Germany where many surveys have been carried out by university institutes with limited means. The principal disadvantage is the response rate: not only is it low, but it is also quite variable in the different population segments.

                                                                                  Face-to-face interviewing – increasingly often with the assistance of a computer (CAPI) – constitutes the most expensive technique. The Home Officeresorts to it, as do INSEE, one of the Dutch national surveys and certain German surveys (those having sufficient funding). Their quality depends on that of the available network of interviewers. The multiplication of anti-intrusion systems in homes is pointed out by the English report as an increasingly significant problem.

                                                                                    Computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) is currently the most widely spread: in Scotland and France for the regional and local surveys and for most of the national thematic surveys in Catalonia, Italy, Belgium, for the Dutch Politiemonitor Bevolking, and Portugal). Its success is basically due to a consistent savings compared to face-to-face. On the other hand, it is jeopardized – if not by the development of subscriptions in unlisted numbers that are easily got round by random digit dialing – by the multiplication of households equipped only with mobile phones (so-called ‘mobile-only’28). Respondents are in fact drawn from lists of landlines subscribers, and there are no similar lists for mobiles. Drawing up complementary random samples of ‘mobile-only persons’is not absolutely impossible29, but it runs up against a great many limitations. In addition, the mobile phone allows for much shorter interviews than those conducted over fixed telephones.

                                                                                    • 28  The Belgian report estimates their proportion at(...)
                                                                                    • 29  Guilbert, Gautier (2006).

                                                                                    We must still mention that surveys on the victimisation of students or schoolchildren are generally administered in classrooms in the form of a printed questionnaire that is filled out under the supervision researchers and/or teachers. Here, the main problem is parental authorisation, which is often considered a necessary precondition, especially for the youngest schoolchildren. A similar method – without the same authorisation problems naturally – is used for the surveys linked to military service (in Switzerland) or the defence call-up preparation day (ESCAPAD surveys in France), but the progressive abandoning of armies of conscripts in favour of professionals does not allow for envisaging much development of this case.

                                                                                      English and German reports draw attention to the disturbing decline in response rates: the BCS has managed to maintain it at 75% in the last decade, but the increase in polls of all kinds ends up wearying the solicited population. Moreover, adding to this difficulty are further obstacles to specific administration methods such as the growing number of households with no fixed landlines or the proliferation of devices preventing entrance to residential buildings. In this respect, the German report remarks that the few rare telephone surveys conducted in the country did not give higher response rates than the average rates of its postal surveys. As a matter of fact, the crucial problem is not so much the response rate as the bias aroused by unevenly distributed non-responses30: the seeming preservation of a constant response rate masks, for example, in England and Wales, a localised drop precisely in the areas with a high crime rate31.

                                                                                      • 30  Pauwels, Pleysier (2007).
                                                                                      • 31  Hough (2007).

                                                                                      The recall period

                                                                                      The shorter the recall period, the fewer problems of memory loss or of telescoped time frames, thus making findings all the more reliable.

                                                                                        The standard period is a year (England and Wales, Catalonia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Germany), with some alternate, longer periods such as two or three years, five years or entire lifetime (Germany, ICVS, Italy), particularly in surveys on specific populations. In France, however, INSEE surveys question over two years, and the regional and local surveys generally over three years.

                                                                                          Finally, the quality of the surveys depends considerably on the ability of the commissioning bodies to secure the backing of proficient scholars. This point will be considered in the following section where we will deal with different uses of victimisation surveys.

                                                                                            III. The uses of surveys on victimisation and insecurity

                                                                                            As for what uses are made of these surveys, one may first consider those in the vein of public policies, then those concerning the media, and finally those taking place in the academic world. Beforehand, a word must be said about the dissemination of results and their publication.

                                                                                              1. Surveys and public policies

                                                                                              Mobilisation of surveys results in the process of decision-making and evaluation of public policies ranges from intensive to low.

                                                                                                It is systematic in England and Wales: not only does the BCS seem to have become the ordinary reference for measuring crime but, moreover, its results are used systematically in support of the evaluation of policies developed by the Labour government following, for example, the Crime and Disorder Actof 1998. From them are extracted indicators of the crime level, confidence in the police and justice, and victim and witness satisfaction. Table 1, taken from Mike Hough’s 2007 report for England and Wales, shows the importance of indicators borrowed from the BCS (italicised) in evaluating the compliance with objectives of public security policies.

                                                                                                  Agrandir Image1

                                                                                                    Agrandir Image2

                                                                                                      Agrandir Image3

                                                                                                        Agrandir Image4

                                                                                                          Agrandir Image5

                                                                                                          Table 1: PSAs, SPIs and NPP priorities

                                                                                                            Source: Hough, 2007, reproduced from the Guidance on Statutory Performance Indicators for Policing 2006/07 APPENDICES

                                                                                                                This is even truer starting from the moment that the sample was increased so as to ensure the representativeness of the survey at the level of each regional police department (following the Police Reform Act of 200232). Some analysts33 were even inclined to detect a certain tension between this managerial culture that imposes a highly centralised grid of indicators and a ‘hands off’ management style which allows a good deal of discretion for individual decisions to local agencies.

                                                                                                                • 32  Hope (2005).
                                                                                                                • 33 Cf. for example Crawford (2001).

                                                                                                                The English report also mentions several cases of direct influence of survey results on discussion and public policies. The two Merseyside and Islington surveys fostered the resistance of the Labour municipalities to the Conservatives’ safety policy and, over the longer term, contributed to forging the Labour criminal policy. The Policy Studies Institute survey fuelled the debate on the policing strategies of the London police. The discovery of the emblematic role of certain ‘signal crimes’ in producing fear of crime seems to have retained the attention of police chiefs and, through them, of political leaders, and contributed to the definition of specific programmes.

                                                                                                                  In the Benelux, the situation is somewhat comparable to that of the BCS but less systematic: in Belgium, the Security Monitor is linked explicitly to the local security contracts passed between the federal state and towns; as for the Politiemonitor Bevolking, it constitutes an integral part of the police organisation.

                                                                                                                    In Catalonia, the survey is part of the Generalitat’s statistics plan but its concrete use does not seem clear. The Ajuntament de Barcelona clearly used it in an early phase to assert itself as the sole actor possessing precise information on safety in the agglomeration and to determine safety policy priorities. In a more recent phase, its concrete use seems less obvious. As for the Estado central, it did not seem to invest the production of this kind of data, settling for insecurity surveys that tended to be, moreover, unsystematic.

                                                                                                                      In France, it was just recently that the results of national surveys were integrated into national ‘observatories’ or research institutes such as those on destitute urban areas (ONZUS, Observatoire national des zones urbaines sensibles) and, even more, on crime (OND, Observatoire national de la délinquance). Nonetheless, it does seem that they occupy in fact the rather secondary position of a junior partner beside police statistics. The Île-de-France regional surveys appear in an observatory at the disposal of the Regional Council whose use is not well known. As for the local surveys, they have often been commissioned to integrate nascent local observatories; but their heads – especially accustomed to handling administrative figures coming from the police, school system, housing projects, fire department, etc. – do not easily manage to make use of data as distinctive as general population survey results.

                                                                                                                        We find no notable impact of the surveys on public policies in Germany – except sometimes, notes the rapporteur sarcastically – to justify savings measures. However, it must be pointed out that most of the recent local surveys have been commissioned by municipal authorities in support of prevention and security programmes, without fully knowing their concrete use.

                                                                                                                          In Italy, finally, no use was found at the state level, but certain regions (primarily Emilia Romagna, which has provided itself with a specific study tool in Città sicure) and a few municipalities (particularly Modena and Bologna) use fairly regularly regional or local oversampling that they request from ISTAT.

                                                                                                                            To sum up, the national states and certain regions (such as Catalonia, Emilia Romagna,Île-de-France) integrate – more or less – surveys for the piloting of crime prevention and safety policies.

                                                                                                                              This is also the case with a certain number of cities and agglomerations, but this time with much greater uncertainties, both about funding – which seems to have been easily endured by Barcelona for the past quarter-century, but which weighs heavy on other budgets –  and about the abilities for integrating such indicators. Certain rapporteurs (Germany) seem sceptical as to the development of surveys at this level of government; others, on the contrary, deem it assured. We can cite the case of the Belgian security monitor in the cities under security contracts, but this time with steering and funding from the federal state. It does seem that, in the long term, the fortune of such local contracts presupposes participation of regional or national governments in the financing and implementation techniques of these surveys. Nonetheless, such participation presupposes choices: determining which towns will benefit from them and according to what criteria is crucial, an issue all the thornier since the towns most affected by crime are often most lacking in resources for funding surveys.

                                                                                                                                On the other hand, thematic surveys on specific populations – violence against women, young people, especially schoolchildren – seem to get coverage everywhere and often have notable impact, as has been seen with the three Spanish surveys on violence against women. Similarly, the German report emphasises the large impact of surveys on school violence in pedagogic milieus and educational managers.

                                                                                                                                  2. Surveys and media

                                                                                                                                  It is fairly difficult to get an overall idea of the media coverage of surveys across the various countries under review. It seems to be closely tied to the news: if a survey is conducted when insecurity is publicly debated – e.g. during an election campaign, or when a spectacular incident occurs (such as serious violence in schools) – or if it deals with a sensitive topic such as gender violence – it may receive extensive coverage. But such attention seems to be fleeting and sporadic rather than systematic.

                                                                                                                                    The situation also differs depending on whether the victimisation surveys have become the ordinary source of information on crime or are still secondary to police statistics. It is much more frequently publicised in the former case than in the latter.

                                                                                                                                      3. Surveys and the academic world

                                                                                                                                      In this respect again, the situation is quite variable depending on the country.

                                                                                                                                        In Germany, not only are a large number of surveys of academic origin, but also a system without strong university involvement seems unimaginable to the point that one of the reasons that allegedly slowed down the setting up of a regular national survey was the difficulty in determining which academic institution would run it.

                                                                                                                                          In Belgium and the Netherlands, academic involvement also seems strong: not only did university centres initiate the first surveys, but a large number of these still carry out secondary analyses of survey data. It is noteworthy that the Belgian Federal Police, which commissions the surveys, puts aside special funds to encourage academics to work on this kind of data34.

                                                                                                                                          • 34  Of course, these also seek funds for their work (...)

                                                                                                                                          In England and Wales, not only have local surveys been of academic origin, but very important secondary analyses have been conducted by scientific teams receiving data and financing from the Home Office.

                                                                                                                                            In Italy, on the contrary, university involvement seems slight35 – even though the ISTAT national survey was designed by an academic – and it is study centres dependent upon regional governments (Città sicure or CISIS) that ensure the main scientific involvement. It appears even slighter both for the Spanish surveys and for the experiments of the Portuguese Ministry of Justice.

                                                                                                                                            • 35  However, one mentions Transcrime of the universi(...)

                                                                                                                                            In France, while certain surveys are run by scientific bodies and consequential secondary analyses are conducted, on the other hand, access to data is in some cases difficult for researchers – from the Île-de-France Regional Council, for instance – and, in general, there is a certain distance between the academic world and the bodies commissioning surveys. However, good cooperation between academics and the public statisticians from the INSEEwho are running the national survey should be mentioned.

                                                                                                                                              In all cases – even in the countries that seem fairly well off, such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Belgium -, there are unfortunately insufficient numbers of scholars fluent in quantitative methods capable of developing secondary analyses on these data and combining their outcomes with the state of knowledge in criminal sociology. As an illustration, the box below gives a few examples of secondary analyses of victimisation and insecurity surveys data

                                                                                                                                                Examples of research based on the secondary analysis of survey data

                                                                                                                                                  We can first note methodological studies such as Gabry Vanderveen’s analysis of insecurity indicators and their significance (2006) as well as that of Jonathan Jackson on the validation of new insecurity measurements (2005). Lieven Pauwels and Stefaan Pleysier (2005) studied the cross-cultural validity of insecurity measures. Stefaan Pleysier, Lieven Pauwels, G. Vervaeke, J. Goethals (2005) analysed the invariance of estimates in surveys on insecurity that use complex instruments such as factorial analyses or scales. Helmut Kury (199436) studied the impact of the wording of questions in surveys. R. Schnell and F. Kreuter (2000) analysed cases in which very similar surveys produce different results.

                                                                                                                                                  • 36  Cf. also Kury et al. (2000).(...)

                                                                                                                                                  Other research has concentrated on victimisation and the victims. Robert J. Sampson and Byron W. Groves (1989), like Nicolas Herpin and Hugues Lagrange (2005), as well as Tim Hope (2006), analysed the social and territorial distribution of victimisation and insecurity. E. Stephan (1976), like H.D. Schwind et al.(1975, 2001) has used German victimisation surveys to test the theory of social disorganisation. Johan Van Wilsem (2003) carried out a multilevel (individual, neighbourhood, city, country) analysis of the effects of context on victimisation. Ken Pease’s research (1993, 1998) led to really ‘discovering’ the depth of repeated victimisation. Renée Zauberman, Philippe Robert and Marie-Lys Pottier (2004) constructed profiles of victims and victimisation by combining circumstances of the incident, ways of living through it and of reacting to it.

                                                                                                                                                    Some are focussed more on insecurity.Karin Wittebrood (2001) carried out a multilevel analysis of the feeling of insecurity in industrialised countries; Philippe Robert and Marie-Lys Pottier (2004) analysed the change in security concerns of the French middle classes in the late 1990s.

                                                                                                                                                      We can also mention research concerning the police. Wesley Skogan (1994, 2007) studied police-public contacts and the evaluation of police performances, based on results of the BCS; similarly, Philippe Robert, Renée Zauberman and Marie-Lys Pottier (2003) analysed, starting from surveys in Île-de-France, the reporting by victims to the police from the angle of a face to face encounter between laymen and professionals.

                                                                                                                                                        Some research has focussed on attitudes towards criminal justice. Mike Hough and Julian Roberts (2007) studied , citizens’ confidence in it and attitudes towards sentencing, based on the BCS.

                                                                                                                                                          Cooperation with the academic world crucially keeps bodies commissioning and using surveys to misevaluate their contributions and limits.

                                                                                                                                                            It is also important for the designing of surveys. Without in-depth experience of secondary analyses and sustained acquaintance with sociological literature on crime, the elaboration of protocols can run up against serious difficulties. Pauwels and Pleysier (2007), for example, stress that the importance of the instrument’s stability is often neglected: a varying instrument makes the analyst unable to tell whether a variation in the results is to be attributed to its instability or to a real change in phenomena that it pretends to be measuring. From this they deduce that an alteration – however minimal – should always be preceded by research allowing for balancing out the gain procured by the change and the loss resulting from the break in the continuity of observations, also allowing for determining how to maintain, despite all, the continuity of the series.

                                                                                                                                                              Finally, this cooperation is critical for the contribution of surveys to the understanding of crime: without in-depth secondary analyses, without a cross-interpretation between survey results and time-honoured criminal sociology, settling for pseudo-results – as is often the case regarding insecurity – or drawing only a meagre share of a survey’s potential contributions are serious risks, which would be particularly regrettable for such costly investigations.

                                                                                                                                                                Hope (2006) has thus put forward that, for years, the drop in burglaries was attributed to programmes fighting repeat victimisation, whereas – on the basis of knowledge in urban sociology on social and spatial segregation and of the criminal opportunities theories – it could rather be accounted for by the protective strategies developed by potential victims. By mobilising the sociology of professions and of the police, Robert, Zauberman and Pottier (2003) showed that one could often explain the difference between survey and police statistics by the differing perspectives between a professional (the police officer) and a layman (the victim).

                                                                                                                                                                  4. Dissemination and publication

                                                                                                                                                                  In most countries (England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy), results are regularly accessible, at least on Internet sites.

                                                                                                                                                                    The situation is more complicated in Germany owing to the variety of surveys: the most important ones are published, but a certain number of them carried out in a purely academic framework or the smallest local surveys are often barely distributed.

                                                                                                                                                                      In the Iberian peninsula, dissemination does not seem very systematic, and publication even less so.

                                                                                                                                                                        Finally, in France, the situation is variable: although the results of surveys conducted in academic environment are systematically published and posted on the Web, it is much more succinct when it comes to national surveys (except through academic secondary analyses), and certain regional or local campaigns are not published or hardly distributed.

                                                                                                                                                                          The reader is referred to the appendix for a list of publications mentioned in the national reports and of websites containing survey results.


                                                                                                                                                                            1. In a quarter-century, surveys on victimisation and insecurity have developed considerably but quite irregularly, depending on the countries. In addition, the range between general surveys and those delving into a specific topic, between international, national surveys and regional or local arrangements, between surveys covering both victimisations and insecurity and polls concerning only the latter is, in final analysis, quite diversified.

                                                                                                                                                                              We recommend widespread dissemination amongst users of the palette of existing studies.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Although we are quite close to having an approximately standard list of victimisations studied, the same cannot be said for insecurity: in this latter case, the protocols used are far from standardised and quite often run up against serious criticisms.

                                                                                                                                                                                  We recommend a serious effort in the standardisation of protocols, especially concerning insecurity.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. The solidity of surveys depends in large part both on the size of the sample – a good number are insufficient for providing tight enough confidence intervals – and the stability of the instrument. Without the latter, it is difficult to know whether a change in results describes a modification in the real situation or whether it is only the artefact of an uncontrolled modification of the instrument.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Even if these problems are settled, serious threats remain as to the future of these surveys with the rising rate of non-responses, as those can be contained only at additional cost.

                                                                                                                                                                                        We recommend that serious attention be paid to the problems of the sample size, questionnaire administration and, above all, stability of the protocols used, as well as a systematic examination of new problems such as the rate of non-responses or the increase in the number of households without a fixed landline.

                                                                                                                                                                                          4. In the end, rare are the countries where these surveys are integrated into a decision-making and evaluation process. Several of them only manage to consider them as the junior partner of traditional police statistics. Finally, a good number of national, regional and local governments are having trouble in really taking into account the investigations that they nonetheless commissioned.

                                                                                                                                                                                            We recommend that transverse discussion structures allow policy-makers at different levels of government to maximise the use of these surveys.

                                                                                                                                                                                              5. Still, this material – when of sufficient quality – can provide for a large number of scientific studies likely to give profound new insight into the knowledge of crime. And the development of such research – beyond what is currently carried out even in well-equipped countries – is necessary for avoiding misuse of these surveys and even for improving their quality. If this scientific production generally remains too scarce, it is initially owing to the overly small number of researchers with a quantitative methodology orientation capable of both mastering the relevant scientific literature and working expertly on this type of data.

                                                                                                                                                                                                We recommend giving priority to the development of high-level research on victimisation and insecurity surveys.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  AGRA C. Da, QUINTAS, J., FONSECA, E. (2001) De la sécurité démocratique à la démocratie de sécurité: le cas portugais”, Déviance et Société, Les politiques de sécurité et de prévention en Europe, 25, 4, 499-513.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  AGRA C.da , QUEIROS C., 2007, Research on fear of Crime in Portugal, Contribution to FP6 Coordinated Action CRIMPREV, Workpackage 4 Perceptions of crime and insecurity. Workshop on The Role of Social and Cultural Transformation in Constructing Contemporary Insecurities, Esslingen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  BECK F., ARWIDSON P., FIRDION J.-M., JASPARD M., GRÉMY I., WARSZAWSKI J., 2001 L'avenir des enquêtes téléphoniques face à l'évolution des télécommunications,  in Droesbeke J.J., Lebart L. (dir.), Enquêtes, modèles et applications, Paris,  Dunod, 285-293.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  BECK F., LEGLEYE S., PERETTI-WATEL P., 2005, Aux abonnés absents : liste rouge et téléphone portable dans les enquêtes en population générale sur les drogues, Bulletin de méthodologie sociologique, 86, 5-29.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  BOTTOMLEY K., COLEMAN C., 1976, Criminal Statistics: The Police Role in the Discovery and Detection of Crime, International Journal of Criminology and Penology, 4, 33-58.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  BOTTOMLEY K., COLEMAN C., 1981, Understanding crime rates. Police and public roles in the production of official statistics, Farnborough, Gower.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  CANTOR D., LYNCH J.P., 2000, Self-Report Surveys as Measures of Crime and Criminal Victimization,  in Duffe D., McDowall D., Green-Mazerolle L., Mastrifski S. (eds.), Measurement and Analysis of Crime and Justice,  Washington DC,  National Institute of Justice, 85-138.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Coll., La statistique judiciaire ; son histoire et ses usages scientifiques, Déviance et Société, 1998, XXII, 2, numéro spécial donnant suite à un colloque du GERN organisé en 1995.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  CRAWFORD A., 2001, Les politiques locales de prévention de la délinquance en Angleterre et au Pays de Galles : nouvelles stratégies et nouveaux développements, Déviance et Société, 25, 4, 427-458.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DA PASSANO M., 1995, Le statistiche giudiziare come strumento di politica penale nel Granducato di Toscana, Materiali per una Storia delle Cultura Giuridica, 25, 1, 43-58.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DEL FRATE A.A., ZVEKIC U., VAN DIJK J.J.M.(eds.), 1993, Understanding Crime. Experiences of Crime and Crime Control, Rome, UNICRI.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DITTON J., FARRALL S.(eds.), 2000, The Fear of Crime, Aldershot, Ashgate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  GUILBERT P., GAUTIER A.,(dir.) 2006, Baromètre santé 2005. Premiers résultats, Saint-Denis, INPES.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  HERPIN N., LAGRANGE H., 2005, La victimation de proximité, les précautions et la peur. Étude sur la cohésion sociale de voisinage, Revue économique, 56, 2, 285-312.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  HOPE T., 2006, Mass Consumption, mass predation - private versus public action? The case of domestic burglary in England and Wales, in Lévy R., Mucchielli L., Zauberman R. (dir.), Crime et insécurité: un demi-siècle de bouleversements. Mélanges pour et avec Philippe Robert, Paris, L'Harmattan, 45-61.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  HOUGH M., 2007, Research on victimisation and insecurity in Britain, Contribution to FP6 Coordinated Action CRIMPREV, Workpackage 7 Methodology and Good Practices. Workshop on Victimisation, Barcelona.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  HOUGH M., ROBERTS J.V., in press, Public Opinion and Criminal Justice: the British Crime Survey and Beyond,  in Hough M., Maxfield M.G. (eds.), Surveying Crime in the 21st Century,  Cullompton,  Willan Publishing,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  JACKSON J., 2005, Validating New Measures of the Fear of crime, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8, 4, 297-315.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  JONES T., MCLEAN B., YOUNG J., 1986, The Islington Crime Survey. Crime, victimization and policing in inner-city London, Aldershot, Gower.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  KINSEY R., 1984, Merseyside Crime Survey: First Report, Liverpool, Merseyside Metropolitan Council.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  KURY H., 1994, The influence of the specific formulation of questions on the results of victim studies, European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 2, 4, 48-68.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  KURY H., OBERGFELL-FUCHS J., WÜRGER M., 2000, Gemeinde und Kriminalität. Eine Untersuchung in Ost- und Westdeutschland, Freiburg, iuscrim.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  LECUIR J., 1974, Criminalité et moralité: Montyon, statisticien du Parlement de Paris, Revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine, juillet-septembre, 445-493.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  OBERGFELL-FUCHS J., 2007, Crime victims and insecurity surveys in Germany, Contribution to FP6 Coordinated Action CRIMPREV, Workpackage 7 Methodology and Good Practices. Workshop on Victimisation, Barcelona.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  PAUWELS L., PLEYSIER S., 2005, Assessing Cross-Cultural Validity of Fear of Crime Measures through Comparisons between Linguistic Communities in Belgium, European Journal of Criminology, 2, 2, 139-159.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  PAUWELS L., PLEYSIER S., 2007, Crime Victims and Insecurity Surveys in Belgium and the Netherlands, Contribution to FP6 Coordinated Action CRIMPREV, Workpackage 7 Methodology and Good Practices. Workshop on Victimisation and Insecurity Surveys, Barcelona.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  PEASE K., 1993, Individual and community influences on victimisation and their implications for crime prevention, in Farrington D.P., Sampson R.J., Wikstrom P.-O. (eds.), Integrating Individual and Ecological Aspects of Crime, Stockholm,  National Council for Crime Prevention,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  PEASE K., 1998, Repeat Victimisation: Taking Stock, Crime Detection and Prevention Series Paper 90, London, Home Office.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  PERROT M., ROBERT Ph., 1989, Compte Général de l'Administration de la Justice criminelle en France pendant l'année 1880 et rapport relatif aux années 1826 à 1880, Genève, Paris, Slatkine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  PLEYSIER S., PAUWELS L., VERVAEKE G., GOETHALS J., 2005, Temporal invariance in repeated cross-sectional ‘fear of crime’ research, International Review of Victimology, 12, 3, 273-292.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  PLEYSIER S., VERVAEKE G., GOETHALS J., 2006, Hoe ‘representatief’ is deVeiligheidsmonitor? Over de accuraatheid van telefonische surveys in Vlaanderen, Panopticon, 27, 4, 107-114.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  POLICE STANDARDS UNIT, 2006, Guidance on Statutory Performance Indicators for Policing 2006/07, London, Home Office.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  RECASENS I BRUNET A., 2007, Les enquêtes de victimation en péninsule ibérique, Contribution to FP6 Coordinated Action CRIMPREV, Workpackage 7 Methodology and Good Practices. Workshop on Victimisation, Barcelona.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ROBERT Ph., 1991, "Quand le sociologue utilise les statistiques criminelles"... ou comment concevoir le crime ?, in Robert Ph., Emsley C. (eds.), Geschichte und Soziologie des Verbrechens,  Hamburg,  Centaurus-Verlagsgesellschaft Pfaffenweiler, 29-34.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ROBERT Ph., 2007, Enquêtes françaises sur la victimation et l'insécurité, Communication à FP6 Coordinated Action CRIMPREV, Workpackage 7 Methodology and Good Practices. Workshop on Victimisation, Barcelona.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ROBERT Ph., 1993 V° statistiques judiciaires, in Arnaud A.-J. (dir.), Dictionnaire encyclopédique de théorie et de sociologie du droit, 2ème édition corrigée et argumentée, Paris,  LGDJ, 582-583.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ROBERT Ph., 1977, Les statistiques criminelles et la recherche, Déviance et Société, 1, 1, 3-27.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ROBERT Ph., 1999, Le citoyen, le crime et l'État, Paris-Genève, Droz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ROBERT Ph., ZAUBERMAN R., POTTIER M.-L., 2003, La victime et le policier : point de vue profane et point de vue professionnel sur la délinquance, Sociologie du travail, 45, 3, 343-359.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  SACCHINI G., SELMINI R., 2007, Research on victimization and insecurity in Italy, Contribution to FP6 Coordinated Action CRIMPREV, Workpackage 7 Methodology and Good Practices. Workshop on Victimisation, Barcelona.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  SAMPSON R.J., GROVES B.W., 1989, Community Structure and Crime: Testing Social-Disorganization Theory, American Journal of Sociology, 94, 4, 774-802.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  SCHNELL R., KREUTER F., 2000, Untersuchungen zur Ursache unterschiedlicher Er-gebnisse sehr ähnlicher Viktimisierungssurveys, Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 52, 1, 96-117.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  SCHWIND H.-D., AHLBORN W., EGER H.J., JANY U., PUDEL V., WEIß R., 1975, Dunkelforschung in Göttingen 1973/1974, Wiesbaden, Bundeskriminalamt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  SMITH D.J., GRAY J., 1985, Police and People in London, London, Gower.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  SPARKS R.F., GENN H.G., DODD D.G., 1977, Surveying Victims. A Study of the Measurement of Criminal Victimization, Chichester-New York- Brisbane-Toronto, John Wiley & Sons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  STEPHAN E., 1976, Die Stuttgarter Opferbefragung. Eine kriminologisch-viktimologische Analyse zur Erforschung des Dunkelfeldes unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Einstellung der Bevölkerung zur Kriminalität, Wiesbaden, BKA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  VAN DIJK J.J.M., MANCHIN R., VAN KESTEREN J., NEVALA S., HIDEG G., 2007, The Burden of Crime in the EU. Research Report: A Comparative Analysis of the European Crime and Safety Survey (EU ICS) 2005, Brussels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  VAN DIJK J.J.M., MAYHEW P., Criminal Victimization in the Industrialised World : Key Findings of the 1989 and 1992 International Crime Surveys, The Hague, Ministry of Justice, 1992.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  VAN DIJK J.J.M., MAYHEW P., KILLIAS M., 1990, Experiences of Crime across the World. Key findings from the 1989 International Crime Survey, Deventer - Boston, Kluwer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  van kesteren j., mayhew p., nieuwberta p. Criminal Victimisation in Seventeen Industrialised Countries. Key Findings from the 2000 International Crime Victims Survey, The Hague, WODC, 2000.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  VANDERVEEN G., 2006, Interpreting Fear, Crime, Risk and Unsafety, Boom Legal Publishers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  WITTEBROOD K., 2001, Onveiligheidsbeleving en slachtofferschap in westerse geïndustrialiseerde landen. Een multilevel-analyse, Tijdschrift voor criminologie, 43, 2, 144-157.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  VAN WILSEM J., 2003, Crime and Context: The Impact of Individual, Neighborhood, City and Country Characteristics on Victimization, ICS Dissertation Series.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ZAUBERMAN R., ROBERT Ph., POTTIER M.-L., 2004, Profils de victimes, profils de victimations, Déviance et Société, 28, 3, 369-384.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Publications or sites giving access to surveys
                                                                                                                                                                                                  On the international surveys,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the ICVS, cf. the UNICRI site

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the Gallup Europea survey, see. the EU ICS site

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For Belgium,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  concerning the security monitor, see. the Federal Police site ou

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the university-run local surveys:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hebberecht P., Hofman H., Philippeth K., Colle P., 1992, Buurt en Criminaliteit. Vanden Broele/v.z.w, Politeia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hebberecht P., Pelfrene E., Lippens R., 1986, Onveiligheid – Criminaliteit – Burgerwacht, Eindrapport, Gent, Rijksuniversiteit Gent, School voor Criminologie, Onderzoek uitgevoerd in opdracht van de Minister van Binnenlandse Zaken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For England and Wales,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The various editions of the British Crime Surveyare on the Home Office site

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For regional or  local surveys:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jones T., Maclean B., Young J., 1986, The Islington Crime Survey: Crime, Victimization and Policing in Inner City London, Aldershot, Gower.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kinsey R., 1984, Merseyside Crime Survey: First Report, Liverpool, Merseyside Metropolitan Council.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Smith D.J., 1983, Police and People in London, A survey of Londoners, London, Policy Studies Institute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sparks R., Genn H., Dodd D., 1977, Surveying Victims, London, Wiley.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For France,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the first national survey and local surveys in Toulouse and Épinay:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Zauberman R., Robert Ph., 1995, Du côté des victimes; un autre regard sur la criminalité, Paris, L’Harmattan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the Amiens survey:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Zauberman R., Robert Ph., Pottier M.-L., 2000, Risque de proximité ou risque lié au style de vie; enquêtes et évaluation de la sécurité urbaine, Les Cahiers de la sécurité intérieure, 42, 4, 193-220.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the EPCVMs:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  the site of the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Surveys (INSEE)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  certain elements – especially for recent years – are also found in the reports of the National Crime Observatory (OND) and those of the National Observatory of Urban Problem Areas (ONZUS)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the local surveys in Lyons, Saint-Denis, Gonesse and Aubervilliers and for the first two (2001, 2003) regional surveys in Île-de-France, cf. the CESDIP site

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for succinct information on the other Île-de-France regional surveys (2005, 2007):

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the Health Barometer (containing certain elements on the victimisation of physical violence), cf. the site of the National Institute for Prevention and Health Education (INPES)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the ESPAD and ESCAPAD surveys of young people (containing certain elements on the victimisation of physical violence), cf. the sites of the Interdepartmental Mission for the Fight Against Drugs and Addiction (MILDT) and the National Drugs and Addictions Observatory (OFDT)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the surveys on violence against women:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jaspard M., Brown E., Condon S., Firdion J.-M., Fougeyrollas-Schwebel D., Houel A., Lhomond B., Maillochon F., Saurel-Cubizolles M.J., Schiltz MA., 2003, Les violences envers les femmes en France; une enquête nationale, Paris, La Documentation française.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  there is no publication of all the surveys on school violence, but one can refer to a summary article and references quoted in

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Debarbieux É., 2004, Les enquêtes de victimation en milieu scolaire. Leçons critiques et innovations méthodologiques, Déviance & Société, 28, 3, 317-333.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for national surveys (Agoramétrie et al.) on the security preoccupation:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Robert Ph., Pottier M.-L., 1997, ‘On ne se sent plus en sécurité’. Délinquance et insécurité. Une enquête sur deux décennies, Revue française de science politique, 47, 6, 707-740.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Robert Ph., Pottier M.-L., 2004, Les préoccupations sécuritaires: une mutation?, Revue française de sociologie, 45, 2, 211-242.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Robert Ph., Pottier M.-L., 2006, Security, Law and Order: a Profound Transformation?, Revue française de sociologie, 47, annual English selection, 35-64.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For Germany, cf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aben R., 1992, Kriminologische Regionalanalyse Lübeck in Koch K.F., Ed., Kriminalitätslagebilder, Wiesbaden, Bundeskriminalamt, 305-341.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Arnold H., Korinek, L., 1991, Victimization, attitudes towards crime and related issues: Comparative research results from Hungary in Kaiser G., Kury H., Albrecht H.-J., Eds., Victims and criminal justice, Freiburg, Max-Planck-Institut für Strafrecht, 51, 99-121.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Baier D., Pfeiffer C., Windzio M., Rabold S., 2006, Schülerbefragung 2005: Gewalterfahrungen, Schulabsentismus und Medienkonsum von Kindern und Judgendlichen, Hannover: Kriminologisches Forschungsinstitut Niedersachsen

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Boers K., 1991, Kriminalitätsfurcht, Pfaffenweiler, Centaurus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Boers K., Gutsche G., Sessar K., Eds., 1997, Sozialer Umbruch und Kriminalität in Deutschland, Opladen, Westdeutscher Verlag.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Judgend, 2004, Lebenssituation, Sicherheit und Gesundheit von Frauen in Deutschland, Berlin, BMFSFJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dölling D., Feltes T., Heinz W., Kury, H., Eds., 2003, Kommunale Kriminalprävention - Analysen und Perspektiven, Holzkirchen, Felix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dreher G., Kury H., Obergfell-Fuchs J., 2005, Bevölkerungsumfragen in ländlichen und städtischen Regionen - Kriminalitätsanalysen und gezielte proaktive Maßnahmen am Beispiel der Stadt Rottweil, in Bannenberg B., Coester M., Marks E., Eds., Kommunale Kriminalprävention, Mönchengladbach, Forum Verlag Godesberg, 169-188.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Feltes T., Goldberg B., 2006, Selbstberichtete Delinquenz, Viktimisierung und Verbrechensfurcht bei Schülern mit und ohne Migrationshintergrund, in Obergfell-Fuchs J., Brandenstein M., Eds., National und international Entwicklungen in der Kriminologie. Festschrift für Helmut Kury zum 65. Geburtstag, Frankfurt/Main, Verlag für Polizeiwissenschaft, 203-237.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Forschungsgruppe Kommunale Kriminalprävention Baden-Württemberg, 1998, Viktimisierungen, Kriminalitätsfurcht und Bewertung der Polizei in Deutschland Monatsschrift für Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform, 81, 2, 67-82.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Funk W., Ed., 1995, Nürnberger Schüler-Studie 1994, Regensburg, S. Roderer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hermann D., Dölling, D., 2001, Kriminalprävention und Wertorientierungen in komplexen Gesellschaften, Mainz, Weisser Ring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kräupl G., Ludwig H., 1993, Wandel kommunaler Lebenslagen, Kriminalität und Sanktionserwartungen. Bevölkerungsbefragung in einer städtischen Region Thüringens1991/92 (Jenaer Kriminalitätsbefragung), Freiburg, Max-Planck-Institut für Strafrecht.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kreuzer A., Görgen T., Krüger R., Münch V., Schneider, H., 1993, Judgenddelinquenz in Ost und West, Bonn, Forum Verlag Godesberg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kury H., 1991, Victims of crime - Results of a representative telephone survey of 5.000 citizens of the former Federal Republic of Germany, in Kaiser G., Kury H., Albrecht H.-J., Eds., Victims and criminal justice, Freiburg, Max-Planck-Institut für Strafrecht, 50, 265-304.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kury H., Dörmann U., Richter H., Würger M., 1992, Opfererfahrungen und Meinungen zur Inneren Sicherheit in Deutschland, Wiesbaden, Bundeskriminalamt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ludwig H., Kräupl G., 2005, Viktimisierung, Sanktionen und Strafverfolgung. Jenaer Kriminalitätsbefragung über ein Jahrzehnt gesellschaftlicher Transformation Mönchengladbach, Forum Verlag Godesberg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oberwittler D., Blank T., Köllisch T., Naplava, T., 2001, Soziale Lebenslagen und Delinquenz von Judgendlichen. Arbeitsberichte 1/2001, Freiburg, Max-Planck-Institut für Strafrecht.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oberwittler D., Köllisch T., Naplava T., Blank T., 2002, MPI-Schulbefragung Breisgau/Markgräfler Land 2000, Freiburg, Max-Planck-Institut für Strafrecht.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Plate M., Schwinges U., Weiß, R., 1985, Strukturen der Kriminalität in Solingen, Wiesbaden, Bundeskriminalamt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Schwind H. -D., Ahlborn W., Eger H.J., Jany U., Pudel V., Weiß, R., 1975, Dunkelfeldforschung in Göttingen 1973/74, Wiesbaden, Bundeskriminalamt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Schwind H.-D., Fetchenhauer D., Ahlborn W., Weiß, R., 2001, Kriminalitätsphänomene im Langzeitvergleich am Beispiel einer deutschen Großstadt. Neuwied, Kriftel, Luchterhand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Schwind H.-D., Roitsch K., Ahlborn W., Gielen B., Hrsg., 1995, Gewalt in der Schule, Mainz, Weisser Ring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stephan E., 1976, Die Stuttgarter Opferbefragung, Wiesbaden, Bundeskriminalamt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Teske R. H. C., Arnold, H., 1991, A comparative victimization study in the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany: A description of the principal results, in Kaiser G., Kury H., Albrecht H.-J., Eds., Victims and criminal justice, Freiburg, Max Planck Institut für Strafrecht, 51, 3-44.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wetzels P., Enzmann D., Mecklenburg E., Pfeiffer C., 2001, Judgend und Gewalt, Baden-Baden, Nomos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wetzels P., Greve W., Mecklenburg E., Bilsky W., Pfeiffer C., 1995, Kriminalität im Leben alter Menschen, Stuttgart, W. Kohlhammer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wilmers N., Enzmann D., Schaefer D., Herbers K., Greve W., Wetzels P., 2002, Judgendliche in Deutschland zur Jahrtausendwende: Gefährlich oder gefährdet, Baden-Baden, Nomos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For Italy,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the national victimisation surveys carried out by the Istituto nazionale di statistica, see. the ISTAT site For those concerning violence against women, cf. in particular

                                                                                                                                                                                                  see. also the sites of the CISIS, Città sicure, and Transcrime

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For the Netherlands

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the Central Bureau of Statistics surveys:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the Politiemonitor Bevolking:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For Portugal, the Ministry of Justice surveys are found in:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Crucho de Almeida M.R., 1992-1994, Inquérito de vitimaçao, Lisboa, Ministerio da Justicia, Gabinete de estudos e planeamento.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the surveys carried out in Porto, cf. e.g.:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Negreiros, J. 1999 Vitimaçâo criminal na cidade do Porto, Observatorio Permanente de Segurança, Vol.III, duplicated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For Spain,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  the surveys of the Centro d’investigaciones sociologicas are found on its site

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the Enquesta de seguretat publica de Catalunya , cf. that of the Department of the Interior of the Generalitat

                                                                                                                                                                                                  a summary of earlier surveys by the Ajuntament de Barcelona in Sabaté Delgado J., 2005, L’Enquesta de victimitzacio de barcelona i de l’Area metropolitana, Barcelona, IERMB.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for the surveys on violence done to women, cf. the site of the Instituto de la mujer

                                                                                                                                                                                                  for surveys on school violence:


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1  Da Passano (1995).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2  Lecuir (1974).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3  Perrot, Robert, 1989; Robert (1993).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  4  Coll. (1998).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  5  In the sense that a limited population ‘represents’ a parent population when it reproduces its most specific characteristics in a sufficiently accurate way. In the 1840s, Quetelet (1848, reprinted 1984) asserted establishing, in certain conditions, this representativeness of crime statistics in relation to the crime committed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  6  On this crisis in security policies, cf. Robert (1999).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Cf. for example Bottomley, Coleman (1976); Robert (1977); Bottomley, Coleman (1981).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  8 Cf. for example Robert (1991).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  9  Cantor, Lynch (2000).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  10  Van Dijk, Mayhew, Killias (1990); Frate, Zvecic, Van Dijk (1993); Van Dijk, Mayhew (1992); Mayhew, Van Dijk (1997); Van Kesteren, Mayhew, Nieuwberta (2000); a specifically  European version was developed in 2005 by the Gallup Institute with financing from the European Commission (Cf. Van Dijk, Manchin, Van Kesteren, Nevala, Hideg [2007]).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  11  This is not, however, the case of French national surveys on household living conditions (Enquêtes permanentes sur les conditions de vie, EPCV).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  12  Of course, surveys focussing on violence against women generously detail the variety of sexual victimisations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  13 Cf. for example the Obergfell-Fuchs report (2007) for Germany.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  14  Nor, moreover, when victimisation makes the victim disappear as in the case of successful homicide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  15  Nonetheless, the balance between factual questions and questions of opinion can vary considerably within the same victimisation module depending on whether the survey’s focus is more on ‘measuring’ crime or on the analysis of the respondents’ actual victimisation experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  16 Cf. for example the Sacchini, Selmini reports (2007) for Italy, Robert (2007) for France, as well as Recasens I Brunet (2007) for the two Iberian countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  17 Cf. for example, in a very long list, Ditton, Farrall (2000) or Jackson (2005).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  18  Jackson, (2005); Pauwels, Pleysier (2005); Pleysier, Pauwels, Vervaeke, Goethals (2005); Venderveen (2006).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  19  Obergfell-Fuchs Report (2007) for Germany.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  20  Sparks, Genn, Dodd (1977); Smith, Gray (1985); Kinsey (1984); Jones, MacLean, Young (1986).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  21  At least to that of the towns that signed a security contract with the federal Ministry of the Interior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  22  Often linked to reunification and a concern for comparison between old and new Länder or else to specific populations like women.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  23  Agra, Quintas, Fonseca (2001); Agra, Queiros (2007).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  24  Certain times, only a country’s cities are the object of the survey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  25  In the purity of principles, one should disregard age classes that are not submitted to the inquiry. As these are always more or less the same (the under 14 or 15) and their share not differing much from one country to another, one can settle for overall populations as an proxy indicator.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  26  Besides the enlargements commissioned by some regions (11,000 for Emilia Romagna).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  27  Although most surveys take a more or less detailed interest in reporting to the police, reporting towards other participants (insurance, health services, security equipment suppliers…) is less systematic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  28  The Belgian report estimates their proportion at 15% of the households (similar to what is put forward for France; see also, with the EUICS, Hideg, Manchin, 2005). Several specific studies (Pleysier, Vervaeke, Goethals [2006]; Beck, Arwidson, Firdion, Jaspard, Grémy, Warszawski [2001]; Beck, Legleye, Peretti-Watel [2005]) placed the accent above all on the particularities of these ‘mobile-only population’(younger, better educated…).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  29  Guilbert, Gautier (2006).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  30  Pauwels, Pleysier (2007).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  31  Hough (2007).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  32  Hope (2005).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  33 Cf. for example Crawford (2001).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  34  Of course, these also seek funds for their work on surveys from agencies specifically devoted to financing university studies such as the federal Belgian Science Policy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  35  However, one mentions Transcrime of the universities of Trentoand Sacro Cuorein Milan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  36  Cf. also Kury et al. (2000).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Date of publishing :

                                                                                                                                                                                                  01 march 2008

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Paper ISBN :

                                                                                                                                                                                                  978 2 917565 00 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                  To cite this document

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Renée Zauberman, «Brochure n°1bis - Surveys on victimisation and insecurity in Europe», CRIMPREV [En ligne], CRIMPREV programme, Brochures, URL :

                                                                                                                                                                                                  About : Renée Zauberman

                                                                                                                                                                                                  In charge of research at the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS), Centre of Sociological Research on Law and Penal Institutions (CESDIP, CNRS, Ministère de la Justice, Université de Versailles-St-Quentin).