The Problems of the Complex Use of Recorded Crime Statistics and Crime Victim Survey Data

Alfredas Kiškis


Recorded crime statistics and representative population survey (crime victim survey) data are two main empirical data sources of crime record (two – ray data). Crime recording and crime victim survey are like two beams, illuminating different sides of the crime, demonstrating different its aspects. A picture of the crime obtained from these different sources is often very different, but there is no established methodology on how to achieve the comparability of the data and how to the use both sources of information in the assessment of crime in the country.
This article analyses the properties of recorded crime statistics and crime victim survey data, the methodological aspects of evaluation of crime using these two data sources in foreign countries. The author presents findings and recommendations for use of the following sources in assessing crime in Lithuania. Data analysis, synthesis, comparison and other methods are used.
Main conclusions and recommendations:
• The complex use of two – rays data in the chosen countries is problematic and limited. Two – ray data is only collated, compared, but they are not consolidated and integrated.
• The main problems of the complex use of two – ray data are: dissimilar definitions of the same crimes, differences in their scope (area, time, victims and others), as well as the variations of two – ray data collection methodologies.
• No methods exist for precise identification of the contributions of each of these two sources of information in order to assess the real crime, nor the extent to which each of them constitute the content of real crime.
• A new approach to this problem is needed — it is appropriate to create new indicators (models) on agreed ways of integrating these two sources of information.
• At the Lithuanian national level it is necessary to establish a standardized crime victim survey methodology in accordance with national law and the availability of resources.
• The calendar year of the investigation period is best for national crime victim surveys in Lithuania, because it compares most accurately with the recorded crime statistics and is optimal, given the modest resources allocated to victimological surveys, for the respondents’ ability to remember the older events.
• Victimological polls can be taken with 2,000 respondents (two times more than usual) for more specific estimation of rare offenses in Lithuania. This can be achieved by taking a less expensive way—through repeated questioning by two omnibus routes (each of 1000 respondents) and using the same period of investigation.


recorded crime; victimological survey; crime data; evaluation of crime; methodology

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236