Comparing crime reporting factors in EU countries
Through crime-reporting citizens make their security needs explicit to the police. This information helps the police in the allocation of resources. In the European Union, there are significant differences among countries, both in terms of overall and specific crime-reporting rates. Factors highligh...
European journal on criminal policy and research
Year: 2017, Volume: 23, Issue: 2, Pages: 153-174
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|Summary:||Through crime-reporting citizens make their security needs explicit to the police. This information helps the police in the allocation of resources. In the European Union, there are significant differences among countries, both in terms of overall and specific crime-reporting rates. Factors highlighted by the literature that might explain these differences are not entirely satisfactory. There is little comparative research, and most published studies are nation-centred, based on the experience of central and northern European countries, and largely focused on the situational variables related to the criminal incident itself. It is widely assumed that situational variables have a universal explanatory capacity in crime reporting. This article questions this assumption and shows that a number of factors weight differently in explaining national rates. Following a literature review, we identified four groups of causal factors and analysed their explanatory capacity. These are related largely to the incident (rational models) and victims’ perception (psychological models). In addition, we also analysed the influence of institutional and community factors. The European Survey on Crime and Safety database was used for our analysis. Results show the existence of two areas in Europe, the north-central area and the south-eastern area, in terms of crime reporting rates and the factors that explain these differences. Rational and psychological models explain crime-reporting practices better in the north-central area. In contrast, socio-demographic variables and social inequalities are more relevant for explaining crime reporting in the south-eastern area of Europe. Institutional variables are also important in eastern countries. Community factors are not significant explanatory variables due to the limitations of indicators available in the database. Our research reveals that crime-reporting is a rather more complex phenomenon than is often assumed, and highlights the limitations of existing knowledge and methodologies on comparative crime-reporting.|