Using official statistics on crime and criminal justice in the European Union: developing robust comparisons between jurisdictions

Clarke, Stephen (2015) Using official statistics on crime and criminal justice in the European Union: developing robust comparisons between jurisdictions. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Comparing statistics on crime and criminal justice between jurisdictions has been a major challenge for criminologists since systematic record-keeping began in the early 19th century. Different legal systems, law enforcement practices, statistical recording practices and variations in the willingness of citizens to report crimes combine to make it particularly difficult to compare the number of crimes across different countries, even when adjustments are made for the differences in national populations.
    This research project examines whether useful and robust comparisons can be made by focusing on how national counts of victims, suspects or offenders are constituted in terms of objectively-defined proportions, based on sex, age and citizenship. The analyses are based on secondary data for 2003 to 2012 extracted from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) database. The geographical coverage is limited to European Union jurisdictions, which are subject to common policies in the areas of freedom, security and justice and where robust comparisons are particularly relevant.
    The results show that comparisons based on proportions can reveal clear and interesting differences between jurisdictions and highlight areas where additional research would be useful to better understand the factors influencing the differences. However, the results are less robust for identifying trends in the proportions over time, principally due to the statistical gaps or inconsistencies in the secondary data. The research project concludes with a series of recommendations for improving the quality of the secondary data which would facilitate comparisons across more jurisdictions and allow the behaviour of proportions over time to be more robustly assessed.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 12:22
    Last Modified: 30 Jun 2015 12:22

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