Crime statistics


Data extracted in September 2021

Planned article update: August 2022

Highlights


Police-recorded robberies in the EU fell by 11% between 2016 and 2019.
3 875 police-recorded intentional homicides were observed in the EU in 2019, a reduction of 32% compared with 2008.
In 2019, 36% of intentional homicide victims were females.
Among the crimes recorded by the police forces in 2019, assaults, sexual violence and drug-related crimes reached the highest number in the last decade, while robbery, burglary and thefts reached the lowest number.
[[File:Crime statistics September 2021.xlsx]]

Robbery, average 2017-2019 (police-recorded offences per hundred thousand inhabitants)

The statistics presented in this article are based on official figures for police-recorded offences (criminal acts) in Europe between 2008 and 2019. The results cover the European Union (EU), the EFTA countries, as well as partially the candidate countries and the potential candidate countries.


Full article

Robberies down by 11 % in the EU between 2016 and 2019

Between 2016 and 2019, police-recorded robberies in the EU fell by 11.0 %, to about 229 100. There was an increase of 8.8 % between 2008 and 2012, which was the highest point in 2008-2019, and a sharp decrease in the period 2012-2016 (-43.3 %), as shown in Figure 1. This decrease was partly caused by an interruption in the French series in 2016, due to a change in classification to better comply with ICCS (International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes). Between 2018 and 2019, there were decreases in most EU countries, while the largest relative increases were recorded in the Netherlands (10.9 %), Austria (9.7 %) and Spain (9.3 %).

Figure 1: Robbery (police-recorded offences), 2008-2019
(number of offences)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)

Figure 2 shows police-recorded robberies relative to population size (number of offences per 100 000 inhabitants). On average for the period 2017-2019, the highest rates in the EU were observed in Belgium (146.7), Spain (134.1), and Portugal (108.0), while the lowest rates were found in Hungary (7.4), Slovakia (8.3), Cyprus (8.9), Slovenia (12.2) and Czechia (13.9). Among the EFTA countries, Switzerland had the highest rate at 20.7 police-recorded robberies per 100 000 inhabitants. In 21 out of 27 EU countries, the 2017-2019 average number of robberies per 100 000 inhabitants is lower than the 2016-2018 average. The average increased in Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Finland, Romania and Slovenia.

Figure 2: Robbery, average 2017-2019
(police-recorded offences per 100 000 inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)

3 875 intentional homicides in the EU in 2019, the lowest value since 2008

In 2019, there were 3 875 police-recorded intentional homicides in the EU, the lowest number in the period 2008-2019 and a reduction of 32 % since 2008. Table 1 shows the reported figures by country.

Table 1: Intentional homicide, 2008-2019
(number of police-recorded offences)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)

Figure 3 shows intentional homicide in relation to the population size (police-recorded offences per 100 000 inhabitants). In 2019, the highest figures were observed in Latvia (4.7) and Lithuania (3.0), followed by nine countries with between 1 and 2 intentional homicides per 100 000 inhabitants (Estonia, Finland, Cyprus, Slovakia, Romania, France, Belgium, Bulgaria and Sweden). In 15 countries the rate was between 0.5 and 1 per 100 000 inhabitants and in Slovenia it was below 0.5. In 17 out of 27 countries, the number of intentional homicide per 100 000 inhabitants decreased between 2018 and 2019. The highest decreases were in Latvia, Malta and Lithuania and the highest increases were in Czechia and Croatia.

Figure 3: Intentional homicide, 2018 and 2019
(police-recorded offences per 100 000 inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)


In 2019, 36 % of intentional homicide victims were females

As shown in Figure 4, in 2019 36 % of intentional homicide victims in the EU were females. There were more females than males among the victims in Cyprus, Latvia, Malta, Austria and in Norway and Switzerland for the EFTA countries. In Hungary, Germany, Croatia, Denmark and Czechia the percentage of females was higher than 40 %. In 8 countries the percentage was between 30 % and 40 %. The percentage was lower than 30 % in Romania, Greece, Slovakia, Ireland, Lithuania, Estonia and Sweden. In 12 of the 23 countries that provided data for both years, the percentage of female victims decreased from the previous year.

Figure 4: Intentional homicide victims, % of females, 2018 and 2019
Source: Eurostat (crim_home_vage)


642 500 assaults in the EU in 2019, the highest value since 2010

In the EU, police-recorded assaults numbered around 642 500 in 2019, up 11 % from 577 400 in 2014. As shown in Figure 5, the trend was generally decreasing until 2014 and since then has increased. In the 'EU totals' 2016-2019, the Hungarian value is based on the latest available figures, due to missing data. The reported figures show a decrease in Hungary between 2010 and 2015 (14 600 to 12 500). In 2019 Denmark, Ireland, France and Cyprus registered their highest value for the period 2010-2019, while Czechia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia scored their lowest value. In 16 countries out of 26 who provided the data, there was an increase in the number of assaults from the previous year.

The number of police-recorded assaults varies widely across the EU, even relative to population size. Different laws, reporting rate and recording practices affect comparison between countries. For instance, in addition to serious assault, some national figures include minor assault, lethal assault (manslaughter, murder, etc.) or sexual assault (which usually is counted separately).


Figure 5: Assault, 2010-2019
(number of police-recorded offences)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)


178 500 sexual violence crimes in the EU in 2019, the highest number since 2013

In the EU, police-recorded sexual violence crimes numbered around 178 500 in 2019, up 6 % from the previous year. As shown in Figure 6, the trend was slightly decreasing from 2013 to 2015 and since then has increased. In 2019 Czechia, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Finland and Sweden registered their highest value for the period 2013-2019, while Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania and Hungary scored their lowest value. In 21 countries out of 27 who provided data, there was an increase in the number of sexual violence crimes from the previous year. The period 2013-2019 is considered because all countries provided data. The number of police-recorded sexual violence crimes varies widely across the EU, even relative to population size, due to different laws and recording practices that affect the comparison.

Figure 6: Sexual violence, 2013-2019
(number of police-recorded offences)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)

1 567 500 burglaries and 4 801 400 thefts in the EU in 2019, the lowest numbers since 2010

In the EU, police-recorded burglaries numbered around 1 567 500 in 2019, down 28 % from 2014. As shown in Figure 7, the trend was generally steady until 2014 and has declined since then. In the 'EU total', the value for Estonia is missing, the Hungarian value for 2016-2019 and the Luxembourg value for 2019 are based on the latest available figures, due to missing data. The reported figures show a decrease in Hungary between 2012 and 2015 (46 900 to 28 600). In 2019, 16 countries out of 24 who provided data registered the lowest value for the period 2010-2019. In 19 countries out of 24 who provided the data, there was a decrease in the number of burglaries from the previous year, while Czechia, Greece, Malta, Poland and Finland registered small increases (between 3 % and 5 %).

Police-recorded thefts numbered around 4 801 400 in 2019, even with a decrease of 28 % compared to 2014. As shown in Figure 7, the trend was increasing until 2014 and since then has decreased. In the 'EU total' the Luxembourg value for 2019 is based on the latest available figures, due to missing data. In 2019, 13 countries out of 26 who provided data registered the lowest value for the period 2010-2019 and in 16 countries out of 26 there was a decrease in the number of thefts from the previous year, while the highest increase was in Greece (7 %) followed by Spain (5 %).

Figure 7: Burglary and theft, 2010-2019
(number of police-recorded offences)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)

Figure 8 shows the sum of burglaries and thefts in relation to the population size (police-recorded offences per 100 000 inhabitants). The highest figures for police-recorded offences in the period 2017-2019 were observed in Denmark (4 183 per 100 000 inhabitants) and Sweden (4 111 per 100 000 inhabitants), which means 1 per 24 people, followed by 12 countries with between 1 000 and 2 600 burglaries and thefts per 100 000 inhabitants (Belgium, Finland, Luxembourg, Austria, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Malta, Germany, Ireland, Slovenia and Portugal), equivalent to 1 per 39-95 people. In 10 countries the rate was between 500 and 1 000 per 100 000 inhabitants, 1 for every 100-200 persons, and in Poland, Slovakia and Cyprus the rate was below 500 per 100 000 inhabitants, 1 for over 200 people. The differences among countries are explained not only by the level of crime, but also by the different attitudes of the police in reporting and recording crimes, especially minor ones.

Figure 8: Burglary and theft, average 2017-2019
(police-recorded offences per 100 000 inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)

505 100 car thefts in the EU in 2019, the lowest number since 2008

As a detail of thefts, Figures 9 and 10 show the thefts of cars. In the EU there were about 505 100 police-recorded car thefts in 2019, a 43 % reduction compared to 2008 and a 4 % reduction compared to the previous year. Note, however, that for France (2017-2019), Cyprus (2018-2019), Hungary (2016-2019) and Luxembourg (2019) for the missing figures the latest available year figure has been used. As shown in Figure 9, there has been a downward trend in the EU as a whole 2008-2019. In 2019, 19 out of 23 responding countries had a decrease compared to the previous year. In contrast, Croatia (+12 %), Denmark (+7 %), the Netherlands (+3 %) and Slovenia (+0.4 %) had an increase in police-recorded car-thefts between 2018 and 2019.

Figure 9: Theft of a motorized land vehicle, 2008-2019
(number of police recorded offences)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)

For police-recorded car thefts per 100 000 inhabitants, the figures (average 2017-2019) were highest in Greece (246.7), Italy (231.1), Sweden (217.4) and the Netherlands (163.1), all decreasing from the average 2016-2018. The lowest figures in the EU were observed in Slovakia (23.9), Croatia (22.8), Estonia (22.7), Romania (11.9) and Denmark (4.0). Among EFTA countries, Switzerland had the highest figure, 90.3 car thefts per 100 000 inhabitants.

"Car theft" includes theft of motorcycles, passenger cars, buses, coaches, lorries, trucks, bulldozers, etc., but reporting and recording practices vary and affect comparison across countries and years.

Figure 10: Theft of a motorized land vehicle, average 2017-2019
(police recorded offences per hundred thousand inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)

1 110 500 unlawful acts involving controlled drugs or precursors in the EU in 2019, the highest value since 2008

In the EU there were about 1 100 500 police-recorded unlawful acts involving controlled drugs [1] or precursors [2] in 2019, an increase of 16 % compared to 2016. Note that the series for France has a break since 2016 due to a change in classification, which is more in line with the International Classification of Crime for Statistical purposes. In 2019, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, Austria, Finland and Sweden reached the highest number since 2008, while only Slovenia reached its lowest number since 2008. In 14 out of 27 countries there was a decrease compared to the previous year. Luxembourg, Spain and Ireland had the highest percentage increases from the previous year, while Germany, Poland and Sweden had the highest absolute increases from the previous year. Malta, Hungary and Slovenia had the highest percentage decrease from the previous year, while France, Hungary and Italy had the highest absolute decreases from the previous year. This crime category includes unlawful handling, possession, purchase, use, trafficking, cultivation or production of controlled drugs or precursors for personal consumption and for non-personal consumption.

Figure 11: Unlawful acts involving controlled drugs or precursors, EU, 2008-2019
(number of police recorded offences)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)

As shown in Figure 12, the number of drug-related crimes recorded by the police varies considerably across the EU, even relative to population size, due to different laws, recording practices and police attitude towards minor crimes that affect the cross-country comparisons. The values range from 1 offence recorded per 89 people in Sweden to 1 offence recorded per 3 167 people in Slovakia. In 2019, the average value of EU is 1 drug-related offence recorded per 402 persons or 249 out of 100 000 inhabitants.

Figure 12: Unlawful acts involving controlled drugs or precursors, 2018 and 2019
(police recorded offences per hundred thousand inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (crim_off_cat)

Source data for tables and graphs

Excel.jpg Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

Statistics on crime and criminal justice systems in general

Data sources include police and other law enforcement agencies, public prosecutors, law courts, prisons, relevant ministries, and statistical offices. The national authorities are responsible for official figures that are sent to Eurostat and to the United Nations (UN Survey on Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems).

The data of this article

This article presents results based on official figures for police-recorded offences (criminal acts) from 2008 onwards. Eurostat updates the web database when countries send new figures, which may differ from figures presented in previous web articles. A major problem for crime statistics at European level is missing figures. Several of the EU totals in this article were adjusted due to this. For instance if a 2019 figure was missing, the figure for 2018 was used from same country for the same crime. In some cases, an average of the year before and after is used. Another method to deal with missing data is to compare three-year averages. For some crimes, simply too much data are missing for an EU total to be presented. The web database contains figures as reported (no adjustment).

Particular crimes

Additional data on intentional homicide, rape, and sexual assault:

Earlier data


Context

Crime statistics are used by EU institutions, national authorities, media, politicians, organisations, and the general public. Each state establishes its criminal laws, define crimes, legal proceedings and justice reactions, as well as specifications for official crime statistics (except for crimes that are covered by international or EU law). Typically, crime statistics is less comparable between states than internationally specified statistics.

For all their different criminal laws, it could also be argued that there are many similarities between European countries. This, combined with public and political interest, was the background for developing an EU-wide crime statistics. Over the last decade, EU institutions, national authorities, and the UN have cooperated to improve European crime statistics. A major quality improvement is to use a common classification of crimes.

Official crime statistics mainly reflect how the authorities register and handle cases. The figures are provided by national authorities such as the police, prosecution, courts, and prisons. Of those, police figures give the broadest picture, as they include recorded offences, whether or not they led to prosecution. Still, the police records do not measure the total occurrence of crime. Simply put, the total occurrence would be the reported plus the unreported, minus the incorrectly reported. It is fair to assume that the reporting rate is high when a police record is required to support an insurance claim (e.g. car theft and burglary).

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Notes

  1. Controlled drugs are narcotic drugs and psychotropic substance scheduled as such under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances
  2. Precursors are substances frequently used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances