Overview

Crime Statistics

Crime is a recurring topic in public debate, and users of crime statistics include national authorities, EU institutions, media, politicians, organizations, and citizens. There are different types of figures such as the number of criminal offences, offenders, victims, cases, and personnel; from different parts of the criminal justice system such as police, prosecution, courts, and prisons. The figures give information from different perspectives: about the criminal acts, their seriousness, type, and occurrence; about the people involved, their age, gender, citizenship, relationship, and legal status; about the authorities, prevention of crime and reactions to crime.

Eurostat presents official crime statistics from EU Member States, EFTA Countries, EU Candidate Countries, and EU Potential Candidates. All reported figures are tabulated in Eurobase, and results are presented in Statistics Explained.

Sources

The basic data are produced by authorities in each country, such as police, prosecution, courts and prisons, and the statistical office. Each country establishes criminal laws, crime definitions, law enforcement, legal proceedings and reactions, and governs national crime statistics. By agreement, EU Member States, EFTA Countries, EU Candidate Countries, and EU Potential Candidates send the official crime figures to Eurostat. In practice, the figures from the different authorities are collected into one file for each country. This is done once a year, together with the Survey on Crime Trends by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

No records of individual crimes or criminals are sent to Eurostat. Figures are requested as the annual total, in absolute numbers, for each country. Following a checking procedure, some countries are asked about figures that have unexpected values. When the figures are confirmed or corrected, they are uploaded to the web database. No editing, estimation, imputation, weighting, seasonal adjustment, or other statistical modifications are carried out by Eurostat.

Use

Official crime statistics mainly indicates the registration and handling of cases by authorities, such as police, prosecution, courts, and prisons. However, users often want to know about total occurrence of a crime, while only a fraction is recorded by the authorities. This depends – among other things – on reports to the police from victims and witnesses. Inferring about crime occurence from official crime figures can therefore be misleading.

Furthermore, production of official crime statistics, such as how crimes are defined and counted, vary between countries. Comparing official crime figures between countries can therefore be misleading. 

More information can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/crime/methodology

Content

From 2008 onwards, the crime statistics include:

  • Police-recorded offences by crime,
    such as homicide, assault, sexual violence, robbery, burglary, theft, drug crimes.
  • Homicide victims by age, gender, and relationship to offender.
  • Offenders by justice process stage: suspected, prosecuted, convicted; and by age and gender.
  • Personnel by institution: police, prosecution, courts, and prisons; and by gender.
  • Legal cases by type: criminal, civil, commercial, administrative.
  • Legal cases by stage: brought to court, resolved, and pending.
  • Prisoners by age, gender, and citizenship.
  • Prison capacity and occupancy.

For the period 1993 – 2007:

  • Number of police-recorded crimes by type:
    homicide, violence, robbery, home burglary, car thefts, and drug crimes.

For the period 1950 – 2000:

  • Total number of police-recorded crimes.