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The aim of this research paper is to trace the development and the expansion of general victimization surveys across the world. The description focuses on national general victimization surveys, although references to international surveys cannot be avoided because many countries use the International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS) as their national measure of victimization. Specific surveys, such as those focused on businesses, domestic violence, or minority victimizations, are excluded. The paper begins with a historical note, continues with a description of the main surveys already carried out – and those currently conducted periodically – across the five continents, and concludes with a summary of the main findings and a brief mention of known methodological issues in comparative cross-national research based on national victimization surveys.
Historical Development Of Crime Victim Surveys
In 1730, following a series of citizens’ complaints about an increase of property offences, the City Council of Aarhus, Denmark, sent six persons throughout the households of the city to ask whether they had been victims of domestic burglary (Sparks 1981). This study has often been considered as the first victimization survey.
Two hundred years later, on 20 October 1935, George Gallup published his first survey of public opinion (Newport 2010). In 1945, Gallup established an agency in Finland and conducted a general survey that included a question that can be translated from Sweden – one of the Finnish national languages – as “Do you have this year personally suffered from a crime?” In case of an affirmative answer, respondents were asked to specify whether it was theft, burglary, robbery, assault, trespassing, fraud, or something else. A search in Gallup’s database (http://brain. gallup.com) shows that similar questions were not asked in the United States until 1972, when the survey included the following question: “During the last 12 months, have any of these happened to you?A) My home was broken into or an attempt was made to do so; B) I was mugged or assaulted; C) Money or property was stolen from me or some other member of my household; D) My home, or car, or other personal property was vandalized; or E) My car, or a car owned by a member of my household was stolen?” According to our search, before 1972, Gallup polls included some questions on crime – for example, in 1954, the public considered that comic books, TV, and radio crime programs were partly to blame for teenage violence; in 1957, it considered that parents were mainly to blame for that; and, since 1965, polls included a question on fear of crime while walking alone in their own neighborhood at night – but not phrased as a typical victimization question. Thus, the 1945 Finish Gallup Poll seems to be the first major public survey to have asked a question on victimization. The Nordic experience with these questions is reflected in the fact that it is precisely a Finish criminologist, Inkeri Anttila, who is often quoted as one of the main promoters of victimization surveys. However, the publication that is usually quoted refers to self-reported delinquency survey and includes only this sentence about victim surveys: “By Gallup investigations it is also possible to establish how many of the general public have been made objects of a certain crime, and how many of these have reported the crime to the authorities” (Anttila 1964: 413).
The rising public worries about crime in the United States by the mid-1960s – sometimes qualified as a “moral panic” but at least partially supported by a 1965 Gallup Poll (Chambliss 1994) – combined with the increased use of surveys and the inclusion of questions such as the ones mentioned below attracted the interest of criminologists. Thus, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (1967) sponsored three surveys in the United States, conducted by Biderman et al. (1967), Reiss (1967), and Ennis (1967). Between 1969 and 1972, several surveys were conducted in cities across the United States (Sparks 1981, with references) and in the Nordic countries, starting in Finland in 1970 (Aromaa 1971) and then in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden in 1971 and 1972. Also in 1972, the United States launched the National Crime Surveys (NCS) program which led to the first national survey being conducted in 1973 and annually since then (Rand 2006). Australia carried out a survey in 1974 (Congalton and Najman 1974). In the same year, the Dutch Ministry of Justice commissioned Gallup/NIPO to carry out a pilot survey following the format of the Gallup US survey of 1972 (Buikhuisen 1975). Building on this experience, the Ministry of Justice of the Netherlands launched in 1975 its series of national surveys which has been repeated annually – first by the Ministry of Justice and, from 1980 on, by the Central Bureau of Statistics – ever since (Van Dijk and Steinmetz 1979). Following a series of local surveys that started in the city of London in the early 1970s, the United Kingdom launched the British Crime Survey (BCS) in 1982, which has been carried out periodically since then. In the 1980s, Finland and Norway also introduced a periodical survey, as did the city of Barcelona/ Spain in 1983 and Australia in 1975. Around the same time, Clinard (1977) noted that victimization surveys could be especially useful in developing countries, in which police statistics of crime were sometimes unavailable. However, the breaking point for the development of these surveys across the world is undoubtedly the first International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS), conducted in 1989 and published in 1990 (Van Dijk et al. 1990), largely building on the experiences of the Dutch, British, and Swiss national surveys. Thus, in the 1990s, roughly 70 countries participated in at least one of the waves of the ICVS or, at least, used its questionnaire for conducting victimization surveys. Also in the 1990s, regional Latin Americans victimization surveys were developed and countries such as Italy, France, and the Autonomous Region of Catalonia introduced periodical victim surveys. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, some Latin American (Argentina, Chile, and Mexico) and European countries (Denmark and Sweden) have also introduced national periodical victimization surveys.
National Victimization Surveys By Continent
The following sections present the development of national general victimization surveys by continent. The information available does not always allow a differentiation between the year in which the survey was conducted, the year of reference of the survey, and the year of publication. For example, in most European Union countries, the EU ICS was conducted in 2005, using 2004 as the year of reference, but the results were published in 2007 and 2008. In principle, the dates indicated in this research paper refer to the date of publication of the results. This review draws on the ones conducted for Latin America by Dammert et al. (2010), for Asia by Chan (2008) and for Europe by Aebi and Linde (2010).
In the American continent, there are three regional multipurpose surveys that include victimization modules: the Latinobaro´metro, conducted by a nonprofit NGO (Latinobaro´ metro Corporation); the Ecosocial (Encuesta de Cohesio´ n Social en Ame´rica Latina), conducted by another nonprofit NGO (Corporacio´ n de Estudios para Latinoame´rica – CIEPLAN); and the AmericasBarometer of the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) of the Vanderbilt University. The questions included in these surveys are sometimes too broad – for example, the Latinobaro´ metro asks: Have you or a relative been robbed, aggressed, or victim of a crime during the last 12 months? (Lagos and Dammert 2012) – and, as a consequence, they only provide a rough estimate of the extent of victimization.
The Latinobaro´metro is conducted annually since 1995 in Latin America. Eight countries participated in 1995, 17 from 1996 to 2003, and 18 since 2004. Currently, Cuba is the only Latin American country that does not participate in the survey (see Table 1). The Ecosocial survey was conducted in 2007 in seven Latin American countries (see Table 1). The Americas-Barometer is conducted every second year since 2004 in the whole American continent. Eleven nations participated in the first survey in 2004, 20 in 2006, 23 in 2008, and 26 in 2010 (see Table 1). Thus, Cuba is the only country not covered by the survey.
In the following country-by-country analysis, it can be seen that victimization surveys became a standard measure of crime in the United States in the 1970s, in Canada in the 1980s, and in most Latin American countries in the 1990s. The latter introduced such dedicated surveys mainly through their participation in the ICVS with city samples. In particular, in 1992, Argentina, Brazil, and Costa Rica took part in the second wave of the ICVS. The same countries participated in the third wave, in 1996/1997, in which Bolivia, Colombia, and Paraguay also took part, and the number of participating countries continued to increase in the following years. In the 2000s, the UNDP sponsored some victimization surveys in collaboration with governments of countries of the Americas, such as the one conducted in 2004 in Costa Rica and El Salvador and the IDHAC survey, conducted in 2009–2010 in seven Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama).
In Argentina, the first victimization survey was conducted in the capital, Buenos Aires, in 1989, with the support of a private foundation. Always with samples from the capital, the country participated in the ICVS in 1992, 1996, and 2004. From 1997 to 2003, the Ministry of Justice used a slightly adapted version of the ICVS to conduct an annual victimization survey in the city of Buenos Aires and its surroundings, including also in some of its waves the cities of Rosario, Mendoza, and Cordoba. Since 2006, some local governments (city of Buenos Aires, province of Santa Fe) started conducting their own surveys with the scientific support of universities. Also, since 2006, the Di Tella University conducts a monthly victimization survey in the main 40 urban centers of the country.
In Barbados, the Victimization Survey of Barbados was conducted in 2002 using the ICVS questionnaire and in 2009–2010 including also a business victimization section. In Bolivia, three victimization surveys were conducted in 2006. One of these surveys was conducted by IPSOS and covered the cities of La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz. Another one was sponsored by the UNDP and covered cities with more than 2,000 inhabitants. The third one was conducted by the Observatory of Democracy and Security and covered the cities of La Paz and El Alto. Bolivia conducted the ICVS in 1996 with a sample of the capital, La Paz.
Brazil conducted four national victimization surveys. The ones of 1988 (PNAD) and 2002 (PESB) were multipurpose surveys that included a module on victimization and were conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) and the Universidade Federal Fluminense, respectively. The IBGE conducted also in 2009 a national victimization survey, while, in 2010, the UNDP sponsored a survey which used an adapted version of the ICVS questionnaire. Indeed, Brazil participated in the ICVS in 2002 and 2005 with samples of the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Recife, and Vitoria. Apart from that, many local surveys were conducted throughout the country. That was the case in Rio de Janeiro at the level of the city (1992, 1996, 2002, 2005, and 2006), some of its neighborhoods (2001), the metropolitan region (1996, 2000, and 2006), and one of the municipalities of that region (2000). In Sao Paulo, victimization surveys were conducted at the level of the city (1997 and 2003), the metropolitan region (1999), and the state (1998). In Belo Horizonte, surveys were conducted at the level of the city (2002 and 2003) and the metropolitan region (2006). Finally, other victimization surveys were conducted in the cities of Marilia (2003) and Alvorada (2004).
In Canada, a national victimization survey is conducted roughly every 5 years as part of the General Social Survey program. The survey took place in 1988, 1993, 1999, 2004, and 2009. Before that, a national victimization survey had been conducted in 1981. Canada participated also in the five waves of the ICVS (1989, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004) with national samples and in the ICVS-2 pilots of 2009 and 2010.
In Chile, the National Urban Survey on Citizens Security (ENUSC) was conducted in 2003 by the Ministry of Interior, and it became annual since 2005. Apart from that, since 1999, an ONG (Fundacio´ n Paz Ciudadana en Chile) conducts surveys every 6 months in different municipalities of the main cities of the country.
In Colombia, the first victimization survey was conducted in the city of Cali in 1978 by a researcher of the University of Wales (United Kingdom) with the support of the Colombian Statistical Institute (DANE). Between 1978 and 1980, the National Association of Financial Institutions (ANIF) carried out short victimization surveys in several cities, but no scientific publications were produced out of them. The Cisalva Institute of the University del Valle conducted also a victimization survey in six cities in 1996 and in Pasto in 2008. Since 2006, the Foundation Seguridad y Democracia carried out some victimization survey in the six main urban centers of Colombia. In the capital city of Bogota, the Chamber of Commerce has created a Security Observatory that, since 1996, conducts periodically a victimization survey. Bogota provided also the sample for the participation of Colombia in the ICVS in 1997 and 2000. In 2003, a victimization survey sponsored by the World Bank and the DANE took place in the cities of Cali, Medellin, and Bogota, while in 2009, a pilot survey took place in Soacha. At a national level, a module on victimization was included in the National Households Survey in 1985, 1991, and 1995, and the first national victimization survey – sponsored by the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) – should take place in 2013.
In Costa Rica, the United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD) carried out a victimization survey in the capital city of San Jose´ in 1982. The same city provided the main sample for the participation of Costa Rica in the ICVS in 1992 and 1996, and the design of both surveys included also a small rural sample. National victimization surveys were conducted in 2006, 2008, and 2010. These three national surveys were sponsored by the UNDP, and the ones of 2008 and 2010 were cosponsored by the National Institute of Statistics. The Dominican Republic conducted in 2005, through its National Institute of Statistics, a national multipurpose survey (ENHOGAR) that included a module on victimization. In Ecuador, after some regional surveys conducted by NGOs, the government conducted the National Survey on Victimization and Perceptions of Insecurity in 2008 and 2010. In principle, this survey should be conducted every 2 years. In El Salvador, the University Institute of Public Opinion (IUDOP) conducted national victimization surveys in 1998, 2004, and 2009 and in the cities of Sonsonate and Cojutepeque in 1999. In Guatemala, since 2004, the UNDP conducts surveys on victimization and insecurity perception in Guatemala City every 6 months.
In Mexico, the first victimization survey was conducted in the city of Jalapa in 1976 by the Veracruzana University, using a questionnaire developed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (United States). A similar questionnaire was used for a survey carried out in 1983 in the Federal District and its surroundings, sponsored by the National Institute of Criminal Sciences (INACIPE). The Mexican National Institute of Statistics (INEGI) conducted victimization surveys in the Federal District and the State of Mexico in 1988, 1990, 1992, and 1994 and in Monterrey, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Cuernavaca, Ciudad Jua´rez, and the metropolitan area of the city of Me´xico in 1992, 1993, and 1997. In the Federal District and the State of Mexico, the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) has been carrying out every 6 months since 2005 a Survey on Victimization and Institutional Efficacy (ENVEI). At a national level, in 2002, the Citizen’s Institute of Studies on Insecurity (ICESI) conducted for the first time the National Survey on Insecurity (ENSI), with an instrument inspired by the ICVS questionnaire and the one developed by the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) for a national survey conducted in 2000. The ENSI was conducted again in 2003, 2005, 2006, and annually from 2008 to 2010, by the ICESI, sometimes in collaboration with the INEGI, and with some modifications of the questionnaire. Since 2011 the ENSI became the National Survey on Victimization and Perception of Public Security (ENVIPE) and was placed under the responsibility of the INEGI, which continues to carry it out annually with a revised questionnaire. INEGI also conducts since 2009 the Continuous Survey on the Perception of Public Security (ECOSEP) that generates a monthly index of public security perception. Finally, Mexico participated in the ICVS in 2004 with a national sample.
In Panama, within the framework of a project organized by the University of Santa Barbara (California), the University of Panama conducted in 1973, with a sample of the capital, the first Latin American victimization survey. Paraguay conducted a national victimization survey in 2009 through its Ministry of Interior using the ICVS questionnaire. The country also conducted the ICVS in 1996 with a sample of the capital, Asuncion. Peru participated in the 2005 ICVS with a sample of the city of Lima. The same year, the Ministry of Interior also conducted through a private enterprise a victimization survey in the main urban centers. The ONG Ciudad Nuestra conducted the First National Urban Victimization Survey in 2011. An annual survey on citizens’ security conducted by an ONG (Grupo de Opinio´ n Pu´ bica) since 2004 includes some questions on victimization. In Lima, a local victimization survey was conducted in 2007.
As mentioned in the historical introduction, in the United States of America, three pilot victimization studies were sponsored by the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice in 1967. They were followed by several city surveys, by the 1972 survey conducted by Gallup/USA (Gallup Poll Number 861) and, since 1973, by the annual National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS, conducted under the name of National Crime Survey until 1990).
The Ministry of Interior of Uruguay conducted victimization surveys in the cities of Montevideo and Canelones in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004. A national survey was sponsored by the same ministry in 2007. In Venezuela, local victimization surveys were conducted in the city of Me´rida (in 1980, 1983, and 1985), Maracaibo (1987, in the context of a comparison with the United States of America), and Caracas (2005). In 2001, 2006, and 2009, national victimization surveys were conducted for the Ministry of Interior and Justice by a private enterprise (2001) and by the Institute of Statistics (2006 and 2009). In 2007, another national survey was conducted by a consortium of institutes and universities.
Belize and Nicaragua do not have their own national victimization surveys, but victimization data on them for 2009–2010 can be found in the IDHAC survey and in the Americas-Barometer for 2008. Nicaragua also participated in the AmericasBarometers of 2004 and 2006.
In Europe, there are no genuine regional comparative general victimization surveys yet. The Eurobarometer 44.3 (1996), 54.1 (Autumn 2000), and 58.1 (Autumn 2002) included some questions on fear of crime and victimization, and the same is true for the European Social Survey of 2002, 2004, and 2006, but they cannot be compared to a victimization survey and not all European countries participated in them. Eurostat is currently preparing the European Security Survey, a full victimization survey which should take place in 2013 or 2014 (van Dijk et al. 2010).
Austria participated in the ICVS in 1996 and 2005 (EU ICS) with national representative samples and conducted the pilot study on the EU victimization survey module in 2009. Since 2006, the Austrian Safety Board conducts annually the Security Barometer (Sicherheitsbarometer).
Belgium participated in four sweeps of the ICVS – in 1989, 1992, 2000, and 2005 (EU ICS) – with national representative samples. Since 1997, the country conducts regularly a national victimization survey called Security Monitor (Moniteur de Se´curite´). This survey has been conducted in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008–2009. Apart from that, since 1996, the Flanders Authority conducts annually the APS-SCV survey (Administratie Planning en Statistiek – Sociaal Culturele Veranderingen) among the Flemish-speaking population.
In Bulgaria, victimization questions were included in the monthly surveys led within the framework of the UNDP’s Early Warning project in 1996–1997. The ICVS questionnaire was used, with a sample from the capital, Sofia, in 1997, and with national representative samples in 2002 and 2004 (EU ICS). Also in 2004, another national victimization survey was conducted with an ad hoc questionnaire. Since then, the ICVS questionnaire is being used for periodical national victimization surveys conducted in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Cyprus only conducted the pilot study on the EU victimization survey module in 2009 with a sample of two urban areas.
The Czech Republic participated, as part of Czechoslovakia, in the 1992 ICVS with a national representative sample. After the separation from Slovakia, the ICVS was conducted with a national representative sample in 1996 and with a sample from the capital, Prague, in 2000. Apart from that, between 2000 and 2003, four victimization surveys with national representative samples were conducted with an ad hoc questionnaire. The country also conducted the study Victimization of Citizens of the Czech Republic by Some Types of Criminality in the Year 2004. In 2006, an adapted version of the ICVS questionnaire was used for the survey Experiences of Czech Republic Citizens with Some Offences. The country also conducted the pilot study on the EU victimization survey module in 2008/2009.
Denmark is considered as the birthplace of victim surveys as, in 1730, the council of the city of Aarhus reacted to the complaints of the citizens by asking six persons to go through all the households of the town asking their inhabitants if they had been victims of burglary during the last 3 or 4 years. In September 1971, Denmark was the second European country to conduct a modern victimization survey, which was indeed a replication of the one conducted in Finland 1 year before. The country participated in the ICVS in 2000 and 2005 (EU ICS) with national representative samples and conducted both the pilot study on the EU victimization survey module in 2009 and the second ICVS-2 pilot study in 2010. Since 2005, Denmark has an annual victimization survey which is not based on the ICVS questionnaire but includes some comparable questions.
Estonia participated in four sweeps of the ICVS, in 1993, 1995, 2000, and 2004 (EU ICS) with national representative samples. The ICVS became then a sort of regular national victimization survey, and, as such, it was conducted again in 2009.
Finland conducted in 1970 the first contemporary European victimization survey. With the cooperation of the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology, that survey was subsequently replicated in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden in 1971/1972. The Finnish government also financed a replication of that survey in Finland in 1973. Finland carries out a periodical victimization survey called the Finnish National Safety Survey. That survey has been conducted in 1980, 1988, 1993, 1997, 2003, 2006, and 2009. The country also participated in the five sweeps of the ICVS, in 1989, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2005 (EU ICS) with national representative samples.
In France, the first nationwide victimization survey, covering the years 1984–1985, was conducted in 1986. The country participated in four sweeps of the ICVS, in 1989, 1996, 2000, and 2005 (EU ICS), with national representative samples. Between 1996 and 2006, France conducted 11 annual surveys on the Living Conditions of Households that contained a module on victimization loosely based on the ICVS questionnaire. Since 2005, the country launched an annual victimization survey called Framework of Life and Security, whose questionnaire is inspired by the one used in the British Crime Survey. Local victimization surveys were also conducted in E´ pinay and Toulouse in 1989, in Amiens in 1999, and in the Iˆle-de-France (Paris) region in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009, as well as in five cities that are members of the French Forum for Urban Safety in 2005.
In Germany, the first victimization survey was conducted in Stuttgart, in 1973. Reflecting the federal structure of the country, most of the German victimization surveys took place at the local level, at an average rhythm of four surveys per decade until 1990 and up to five per year since then. Some of these surveys used a longitudinal design, such as the Victims of Crime in Bochum study, conducted in 1975, 1986, and 1998 in the city of Bochum. In 1989, the ICVS was conducted in Western Germany with a sample representative of the population of the Federal Republic of Germany. After the reunification of the country, victimization surveys with national representative samples were conducted by different researchers in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, and 1997–1998. In 2005, Germany took part in the EU ICS. The country also participated in the pilot of the EU victimization survey module in 2009 with a sample of four states and in the ICVS-2 pilots of 2009 and 2010.
In Greece, in 1991, a pilot study of the ICVS was conducted in the city of Athens. In the same city, surveys on fear of crime were conducted in 1998 and 2004. At the national level, only one victimization survey was conducted, in 2001.
Hungary participated in the ICVS in 1996 and 2005 (EU ICS). In 2003, the country also conducted the survey Victims and Opinions with a national representative sample and a questionnaire that was not based on the ICVS but included some comparable questions.
In Ireland, the first victimization survey was conducted in 1982–1983 with a national representative sample. In 1994, two victimization surveys were conducted. One used a national representative sample and the other a sample covering only Dublin. In 1996, the survey Victims of Recorded Crime in Ireland was conducted with a sample of victims drew from the records of the Ireland’s National Police. Apart from that, Ireland participated in the 2005 EU ICS with a national representative sample. Finally, the Quarterly National Household Surveys (QNHS), introduced in 1997, include regularly a module on victimization and, as a consequence, can be considered as a sort of regular national victimization survey. The module on victimization was included in 1998, 2003, 2006, and 2009.
Italy participated in the ICVS in 1992 and 2005 (EU ICS) with national representative samples. In 1991 and 1994, national victimization surveys were conducted by UNICRI (with the support of the Ministry of the Interior) and the Cattaneo Institute, respectively. From 1993 to 2003, the national multipurpose survey called Everyday Life Aspects (Aspetti della vita quotidiana) included some questions on victimization, but, currently, only fear of crime in the area of residence is measured through this survey. At the same time, the Italian Citizens’ Safety Survey (Sicurezza dei cittadini) is a multipurpose national study conducted every 5 years (1997/1998, 2002, and 2008/2009) that includes questions on victimization. This survey used oversampling for the Emilia-Romagna region in 1997/1998, for that region and another four in 2002, and for five provinces of the South in 2008/2009. Finally, in Bologna, a local victimization survey was conducted in 1994.
Luxembourg participated in the 2005 EU ICS with a national representative sample. Apart from that, the police services of Luxembourg conducted in 2007 a survey on feelings of insecurity with a national representative sample.
National annual victimization surveys started in the Netherlands in 1974 under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice, initially out-contracted to Gallup/NIPO. These surveys were later adopted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) that has been carrying out national victimization surveys since 1980. The Permanent Survey on Living Conditions (POLS – Permanent Onderzoek Leefsituatie) including the Justice and Security Module was conducted from 1980 to 2005 (from 1980 to 1985 every year and from 1986 to 1992 every 2 years). At the same time, from 1980 to 1992, the Crime Victim Survey (ESM) was held first annually and, from 1984 to 1992, biannually. From 1992 onwards, the ESM was succeeded by the Justice and Security Survey (ERV – Enqueˆte Rechtsbescherming en Veiligheid). Since 2005, the ERV was replaced by the National Security Monitor, which integrated elements from the former POLS Justice Module and from the Police Monitor (PMB). The latter is conducted in every police region since 1993, and it was conducted every second year until 2001 and annually since then. The National Security Monitor was stopped in 2008 and replaced by the annual Integral Security Monitor. Apart from that, the Netherlands participated in the five sweeps of the ICVS in 1989, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2005 (EU ICS) with national representative samples and in the second ICVS-2 pilot study in 2010.
In Norway, by the end of 1971, the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology supported the replication of the victimization survey conducted in Finland in 1970. Currently, the Survey of Living Conditions includes periodically a module on victimization. That module was used in 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2004, and 2007. Norway participated in the ICVS in 1989 and 2004 (EU ICS).
Poland participated in the five sweeps of the ICVS and in the pilot study on the EU victimization survey module in 2009. In 1989, the survey was conducted in the city of Warsaw only, and in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 (EU ICS), it was based on national representative samples. In 2000 and 2004, the country used an adapted form of the ICVS questionnaire. The ICVS questionnaire was also used for a survey conducted in Warsaw in 2005.
Portugal participated in the ICVS in 2000 and 2004 (EU ICS) with national representative samples and conducted the pilot study on the EU victimization survey module in 2009. Portugal also conducted national victimization surveys with an ad hoc questionnaire in 1991, 1992, and 1994.
Romania participated in the ICVS in 1996 and 2000. In 1996 the country combined an urban sample from the capital city, Bucharest, and a small rural sample. In 2000, the country used a sample from Bucharest only. From 2001 to 2006, the National Institute of Statistics (Institutul Na¸tional de Statistica˘, INS) conducted annually the multipurpose Living Conditions Survey (Condi¸tiile de via¸ta˘ ale popula¸tiei din Romaˆnia, ACOVI), which included questions on victimization, with national representative samples.
Russia participated in the ICVS in 1992, 1996, and 2000 with a sample of the capital, Moscow. In 2001, a victimization survey was conducted in the cities of Smolensk, Omsk, and Volgograd. The Slovak Republic participated, as part of Czechoslovakia, in the 1992 ICVS with a national representative sample. After the separation from the Czech Republic, the ICVS was conducted in Slovakia in 1997. The country also conducted the pilot study on the EU victimization survey module in 2008/2009. Slovenia conducted the ICVS in 1992, 1996, and 2001 and participated in the pilot study on the EU victimization survey module in 2009. In 1992, the sample was restricted to the capital, Ljubljana; in 1996, it combined an urban (Ljubljana) and a rural subsample; and, in 2000, it was representative at the national level.
Spain participated in the ICVS in 1989 and 2005 (EU ICS) with national representative samples and conducted the pilot study on the EU victimization survey module in 2008/2009. The Centre for Sociological Research (CIS – Centro de Investigaciones Sociolo´gicas) conducted six victimization surveys with national representative samples (in 1978, 1980, 1991, and 1995), one in Madrid in 1980, and one with a sample of several cities in 1982. The CIS also conducted in 1987 a study on terrorism and citizens’ security. Finally, the barometer conducted periodically by the CIS includes a few questions on citizens’ concerns, among which delinquency is often included. The Andalusian Institute of Criminology has also carried out a series of surveys in different cities of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia in 1994, 2005, 2006, and 2007, as well as a national survey in 2009, using the successive versions of the ICVS questionnaire, adapted to the Spanish case. The Autonomous Community of Catalonia participated in the ICVS in 1996 and 2000 and conducted the pilot study on the EU victimization survey module in 2009. From 1983 to 2001, the Survey on Public Security in Barcelona was conducted annually in the city of Barcelona. This victimization survey inspired the Survey on Public Security in Catalonia, which is conducted annually with a sample representative of the population of Catalonia since 1999.
Sweden conducted its first victimization survey in 1972 as part of a project sponsored by the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology in Nordic countries. Since 1978, the country conducts annually the multipurpose survey called Living Conditions Survey (ULF), which includes a module on victimization. Since 2006, the country also carries out a national annual victimization survey called the Swedish Crime Survey (NTU). Sweden participated also in four sweeps of the ICVS in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2005 (EU ICS) with national representative samples. The country also conducted the pilot study on the EU victimization survey module in 2009 and the first and second pilot studies of the ICVS-2 in 2008/ 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Switzerland conducted seven national victimization surveys, of which four were placed under the umbrella of the ICVS. These surveys took place in 1984/1987, 1989 (ICVS), 1996 (ICVS), 1998, 2000 (ICVS), 2005 (ICVS), and 2011. Since 1989, the survey is always based on the ICVS questionnaire.
In the United Kingdom, the General Household Survey was the first survey that covered victimization issues. This multipurpose survey, conducted during the 1970s, included some questions about domestic burglary victimizations.
Since 1982, the United Kingdom has carried out periodically the British Crime Survey (BCS) which, as explained below, took different forms in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. In England and Wales, the first victimization survey was the London survey, conducted in the early 1970s. Other local surveys took place in Sheffield (1975), London (1983 and 2002), the county of Nottingham (1985), Merseyside (1984), and in the London Borough of Islington (1986). In the 1980s, the BCS was conducted three times in England and Wales (in 1982, 1984, and 1988). From 1992 to 2000, it was conducted every other year, and, since 2001, it became a continuous survey with monthly interviews. From 2012, the survey’s name was changed from BCS into the Crime Survey for England and Wales. England and Wales participated also in the five sweeps of the ICVS, in 1989, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2005 (EU ICS) and in the ICVS-2 pilots of 2009 and 2010. Northern Ireland participated four times in the ICVS, in 1989, 1996, 2000, and 2005 (EU ICS) with national representative samples. The country also conducts periodically the Northern Ireland
National Crime Survey (NICS). This survey was conducted in 1994/1995, 1998, 2001, and 2003/2004, and, since 2005, it became a continuous survey with monthly interviews that follows closely the model of the BCS. Scotland conducts periodically a national victimization survey since 1982. In 1982 and 1988, the country used the BCS. The first independent Scottish Crime Survey was conducted in 1993 and repeated in 1996, 2000, and 2003. That survey was replaced by the Scottish Crime and Victimization Survey (SCVS), which took place in 2004 and 2006. In 2008, the SCVS was replaced by the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) which is a continuous survey with monthly interviews, inspired by the methodology of the BCS, but with a slightly different questionnaire. Scotland also participated in four sweeps of the ICVS, in 1989, 1996, 2000, and 2005 (EU ICS).
The following European countries do not have a national victimization survey but have conducted the ICVS, usually with samples of their capital city complemented in some cases with a small rural sample (the year and the name of the city from where the main sample was extracted are indicated between brackets): Albania (Tirana, 1996 and 2000), Belarus (Minsk, 1996 and 2000), Croatia (Zagreb, 1996 and 2000), the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Skopje, 1996), Latvia (1995 and 1998, with multiple-city samples and 2000 with a national representative sample), Lithuania (1996/2007, with a multiple-city sample, 2000 with a sample from Vilnius, and 2005 with a national representative sample), Malta (1997, unpublished, except in ICVS reports), Serbia (Belgrade, 1996), and Ukraine (Kiev, 1996 and 2000).
In Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) conducted national victimization surveys in 1975 (except the Northern Territory), 1983, 1993, 1998, 2002, 2005, and, annually, since 2008–2009 (as part of the Multipurpose Household Survey – MPHS). Questions on fear of crime and perception of security were also covered in other surveys, such as the General Social Survey (conducted in 2002, 2006, and 2010, which includes also some questions on crime victimization) and the Personal Safety Survey (2005) and in the Southern Australia Health Omnibus Survey, conducted regularly in that region of the country. Apart from that, the ABS conducted regional surveys in Adelaida (1985); Victoria and Queensland (1987); Tasmania (1989); New South Wales (1990); Queensland, Southern Australia, New South Wales, and Western Australia (1991); New South Wales (1992); and Victoria and New South Wales (1995). Australia also participated in the ICVS in 1989 with a sample of New South Wales and Victoria and, with national samples, in 1992, 2000, and 2004. In New Zealand, the Ministry of Justice conducted national surveys in 1996 and 2001 (New Zealand National Survey of Crime Victims) as well as in 2006 and 2009 (New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey). The country also participated in the ICVS in 1992 and 2004 with national samples. In Papua New Guinea, the ICVS was conducted in 1992. The Safer Cities Programme of UN-HABITAT, with the financial support of the UNDP, launched a project in 2002 that allowed carrying out a victimization survey in the capital, Port Moresby. In 2004 and 2005, victimization surveys were conducted in the cities of Arawa and Buka.
Egypt participated in the ICVS in 1992 with a sample of the capital, Cairo. In 2006, a national victimization survey was carried out by the National Center for Social and Criminological Research (NCSCR) with a random sample of 6 governorates including Al Fayoum, Assiut, Behera, Cairo, Dakahlia, and Port Said. Nigeria conducted the ICVS in 1998 with a sample of the capital, Lagos. In 2010, the MacArthur Foundation supported a national victimization survey with a representative sample drawn from the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory. South Africa conducted the ICVS in 1993, 1996, and 2000 with samples of the capital, Johannesburg. Since 1998, the country has a periodical national victimization survey. It was conducted in 1998, 2003, and 2007 under the name of South Africa National Victims of Crime Survey (NCVS), and in 2011, it became the Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS). In 2005, South Africa conducted a youth victimization survey, with a sample of youths aged 12–22. The Safer Cities Programme of UN-HABITAT, with the financial support of the Dutch government sponsored since 1997 victimization surveys in several cities, including Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town. Tanzania conducted the ICVS in 1992 with a sample of the main urban center, Dar es Salaam. The Safer Cities Programme of UNHABITAT, with the financial support of the Dutch and the Swedish government, sponsored victimization surveys in 2000 (Dar es Salaam), 2004 (Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Mtwara), and, in collaboration with the UNODC, 2008 (Dodoma, Mbeya, Moshi, Mwanza, and Tanga). Uganda conducted the ICVS in 1992, 1996, and 2000 with samples of the capital, Kampala. The UNODC sponsored a national victimization survey in 2008.
The following African countries do not have a national victimization survey but have conducted the ICVS, usually with samples of their capital city complemented in some cases with a small rural sample (the year and the city from where the main sample was extracted are indicated between brackets): Botswana (1997 and 2000, Gaborone), Lesotho (2000, Maseru), Mozambique (2002, with a sample of the city of Maputo and the regions of Nampula, Sofala and Zambe´zia), Namibia (2000, Windhoek), Swaziland (2000, Mbabane), Tunisia (1992, Tunis), Zambia (2000, Lusaka), and Zimbabwe (1996, Harare).
Different bodies of United Nations, namely, the UN-HABITAT through its Safer Cities Programme, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), have sponsored victimization surveys – sometimes with the support of the Dutch, the Belgium, or the Swedish government – in the following African countries, which do not have a national victimization survey (year and city from where the main sample was extracted are indicated between brackets): Cameroon (2002, Yaounde´; 2003, Douala), Ghana (2009, in the metropolitan areas of Sekondi-Takoradi, Accra, Kumasi and Tamale), Ivory Coast (1999, Abidjan), Kenya (2003, Nairobi; 2010, national representative sample), and Rwanda (2008, national representative sample).
Cambodia participated in the ICVS in 2000 with a sample of the capital, Phnom Phen, and a small rural sample. In 2011, the Survey of Cambodian Public Opinion, conducted by the International Republican Institute with a national representative sample, included a module on victimization. Georgia participated in the ICVS in 1992 and 1996 with national samples. The country also participated in the 2000 ICVS with a sample of the capital, Tbilisi. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, the Gorbi Institute carried out, with the financial support of the European Union, national victimization surveys using the questionnaire of the ICVS with some adjustments from the future European
Union Security Survey. In Hong Kong, ICVS-based victimization surveys were conducted in 1990, 1995, and 1999. In India, the ICVS was conducted in 1992 and 1996 with samples of the capital, Mumbai. In 1996 a small rural sample was also included. In 2003, a victimization survey was conducted in four cities (Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy, and Chennai) of the State of Tamil Nadu. The survey was funded by the University Grants Commission, New Delhi. In Indonesia, national victimization surveys were conducted in 1982, 1991, and 1994, as a part of its National Economic and Social Survey. The ICVS was conducted in 1989 with a sample of the city of Surabaya. In 1992 and 1996, the ICVS was repeated with a multiple-city sample accompanied by a small rural sample. Japan participated in the ICVS in 1989, 1992, 2000, and 2004 with national samples, and, since then, it has been using the ICVS questionnaire for national surveys every 4 years. In 2006, an independent victimization survey was conducted by Kyoto’s Ryukoku University with a national random sample and a questionnaire based on the ICVS and British Crime Survey questionnaire. Surveys with samples of crimes victims were conducted in 1991–1992, 2000, and 2003. In South Korea, the Korean Institute of Criminology participated in the ICVS in 2000 and carries out a national victimization survey every 3 years since 1994. In Taiwan, victimization surveys were conducted in 2000 by the Prevention Institute of the Central Police University and in 2005 by the National Taiwan University. A survey with a sample of crime victims was conducted in 2005. In Thailand, a victimization survey was conducted in 1983 with a sample of the city of Bangkok.
The following Asian countries do not have a national victimization survey but have conducted the ICVS, usually with samples of their capital city complemented in some cases with a small rural sample (the year and the city from where the main sample was extracted are indicated between brackets): Azerbaijan (2000, Baku), China (1992, Beijing), Kyrgyzstan (1996, with a multiplecity sample), and the Philippines (1992 and 1996, Manila).
The first victimization question in a major public opinion survey seems to be the one included in a Gallup survey carried out in Finland in 1945. By the end of the 1960s, national victimization surveys were developed in the USA and the Nordic countries. The first ICVS in 1989 gave a major impulse to these surveys across the world. Currently, they are carried out regularly in the five continents, and many countries have their own national survey, conducted regularly. In particular, the regions of the world where national victimization surveys have become a systematic measure of delinquency are North America, the Nordic countries, Oceania, as well as some countries of Latin America and Western Europe.
Cross-national comparisons of independent national surveys can be performed – see, for example, the ones conducted by Langan and Farrington (1998) on the basis of the NCVS and the BCS and the studies compiled by Farrington et al. (2004) and Tonry and Farrington (2005) – but are usually problematic as the methodology of the surveys vary from country to country. The main methodological problems have been pointed out by Lynch (2006). In particular, differences in the labelling of the questions cannot be easily overcome. In this context, the increased use of the ICVS questionnaire – which was inspired by the victimization surveys conducted in the United States (namely, the one conducted by Gallup in 1972), the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom – has introduced a relative homogeneity that simplifies to some extent the task. However, the use of different methods of interviewing introduces a supplementary bias. Currently, participants in a survey can be contacted personally, by letter, by telephone, or by e-mail, and then give their answers to the questionnaire orally (by telephone or during a face-to-face interview) or in a written form (by filling a paper or an electronic questionnaire). Across the world, the technique most commonly used is the face-to-face interview, which can lead to PAPI (paper and pencil interview that can be filled by the respondent or the interviewer), CASI (computer-assisted self-interview), or, most frequently, CAPI (computer-assisted personal interview, in which the interviewer introduces the answers directly in a computer). Face-to-face interviewing has always been the preferred methodology in nonindustrialized countries, usually because their telephone and computer penetration rate are relatively low. On the contrary, in industrialized countries, the 1990s provided apparently the perfect window of opportunity for surveys conducted through CATI (computerassisted telephone interview), as most of the households disposed of a fixed telephone line and the costs of such surveys were relatively low. Thus, during the first five waves of the ICVS (1989, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004/2005), most industrialized countries used this methodology.
The increased use of mobile phones instead of landlines and the growth of unwanted telephone marketing led to a fall of the response rates of victimization surveys conducted with the CATI methodology in industrialized countries, especially since the 2000s. For example, for the five countries that participated in the five waves of the ICVS (Canada, England and Wales, Finland, the Netherlands, USA), the rates increased from 52 % in 1989 to 64 % in 1996 but decreased to 63 % in 2000 and fell to 48 % in 2004, when up to seven attempts were made to reach the potential respondents. It is worth noting that response rates decreased also in some of the Central and Eastern European countries that used face-to-face interviews. For example, Poland registered a response rate of 96 % in 1992, but this rate decreased constantly and reached 72 % in 2004. Such decrease could be related to interview fatigue but also to an increased insecurity feeling that produced mistrust of strangers knocking at one’s door, even if some countries announced the survey by letter. However, in Latin American countries, response rates are extremely high (e.g., 85 % in Mexico in 2011).
In order to improve response rates, some industrialized countries are currently testing CATI with samples that include mobile phones, and they are also introducing CAWI (computerassisted web interview) as a new method. CAWI is sometimes combined with PAPI by inviting the persons, usually through a letter – a method that was seldom used due to its lower response rate – to fill the questionnaire either through the Internet or in a written form. Taken into account that the number of Internet users is growing constantly worldwide, there can be no doubt that the CAWI technique offers the promise of a new generation of affordable comparative crime surveys not only in industrialized nations but also in the rest of the countries. However, the results, in terms of differential nonresponse biases and pure mode effects of the few pilot surveys conducted until now with CAWI, are not satisfactory for its full implementation at the present time.
Another major problem faced by victimization surveys is related to the temporal localization of the events. Experimental research (Scherpenzeel 1992) has shown that higher annual victimization rates are found when respondents are asked directly about the victimizations suffered during the last 12 months (like in the BCS) than when they are first asked about victimizations suffered during the last 5 years and then are asked to indicate whether the event took place during the last year or before that (like in the ICVS). The NCVS, with its method of multiple interviews, also produces more accurate estimates of victimization rates and, compared to surveys conducted in other countries with a different methodology, should usually show lower levels of victimization in the USA.
Finally, small samples – as the ones usually used in Europe for the ICVS and in Latin America for the LAPOP and the Latinobarometro, which ranged between 1,000 and 2,000 households – can produce instable rates, especially for infrequent offences, which are usually the most violent ones (e.g., rape). Currently, the biggest samples are the ones used in The Netherlands (220,000 households in 2011), Mexico (90,000 households in 2011) followed by the United States (the NCVS used samples of roughly 40,000 households representing 70,000 interviews by the end of the 2000s), England and Wales (in 2010/2011, 51,000 people – including 4,000 children aged 10–15 – were interviewed for the BCS), Australia (29,000 households for the 2008–2009 MPHS), Chile (that since 2008 use a sample of 26,000 households for its annual ENUSC), and Canada (19,500 respondents for the GSS in 2009).
The best solution for all these problems is, evidently, to use the same questionnaire and the same methodology in different countries. At a continental level, the three regional victimization surveys applied in Latin America (Ecosocial, Latinobaro´ metro, and AmericasBarometer) use the same questionnaire but include only a few questions. In Western Europe, the ICVS has been applied usually with the same methodology of CATI in several countries. However, at the international level, the methodology used for carrying out the ICVS has not been homogeneous. Whenever the questionnaires or the methodology are fundamentally different, the best solution for comparative researchers is to concentrate on the trends shown by the surveys and not on the differences in victimization rates across countries.
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