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Public perceptions of crime Crime Surveys User Group - 7 December 2009

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Presentation on theme: "Public perceptions of crime Crime Surveys User Group - 7 December 2009"— Presentation transcript:

1 Public perceptions of crime Crime Surveys User Group - 7 December 2009

2 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Overview –The public perception gap –New questions added to the 2008/09 BCS –Preliminary analysis & findings –Conclusions

3 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Public perception of crime

4 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 First perception gap

5 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Second perception gap

6 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 What might explain these gaps? –The public dont believe crime has fallen/dont trust crime statistics –Crimes not (or partially) covered by BCS have been rising –Influence of media –Lay-people struggle putting high profile crimes in context –Public perception of crime coloured by particular crimes –Artefact of questionnaire design –Local crime asked towards beginning of questionnaire –National crime some way in, after the main section on personal victimisation experience and immediately after questions on perceptions of sentencing

7 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Changes to questions in 2008/09 –Retained existing questions for (randomly assigned) ¼ sample –New questions asked of the other ¾ sample –Modified version of existing question on national and local crime –New question on comparability of local area with national picture –New question set on changes in specific crimes (nationally and locally) –Nine types asked about in total –Four selected at random for each respondent

8 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Text of questions on crime I would like to ask whether you think that the level of crime in the country as a whole has changed over the past two years. Would you say there is more crime, less crime or about the same amount (since two years ago)? 1. A lot more crime 2. A little more crime 3. About the same 4. A little less crime 5. A lot less crime How much would you say the crime rate here has changed since two years ago? In this area, would you say there is more crime or less crime? 1. A lot more crime 2. A little more crime 3. About the same 4. A little less crime 5. A lot less crime Looking at this card, what do you think has happened to crime in the country as a whole over the past few years? 1. Gone up a lot 2. Gone up a little 3. Stayed about the same 4. Gone down a little 5. Gone down a lot And what do you think has happened to crime in your local area over the past few years? 1. Gone up a lot 2. Gone up a little 3. Stayed about the same 4. Gone down a little 5. Gone down a lot Old questionsNew questions

9 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Other new questions Im now going to ask you about different types of crime. For each one Id like you to tell me whether you think the number of crimes has gone up, gone down or stayed the same over the past few years, both in the country as a whole and in your local area. (Looking at this card) what do you think has happened to the [CRIME TYPE] in the country as a whole over the past few years? 1. Gone up a lot 2. Gone up a little 3. Stayed about the same 4. Gone down a little 5. Gone down a lot And what about in your local area? Crime types (random order – any four from nine). 1. amount of bank and credit card fraud 2. number of gun crimes 3. number of knife crimes 4. number of homes being broken into 5. number of cars being stolen 6. number of cars being broken into 7. number of muggings or street robberies 8. amount of vandalism 9. number of people getting beaten up

10 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 New question on area in context Id now like to ask you some questions about the level of crime. Not all areas of the country experience the same levels of crime. What happens in your local area may, or may not, reflect the national picture. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, it is just what you think. Compared to the country as a whole do you think the level of crime in your local area is…. 1. higher than average 2. lower than average 3. or about average? And now some findings....

11 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Crime questions confirmed previous findings Same pattern as before but with around 10% point increase in those who think crime has risen – likely due to changes in wording Difference between national and local not due to question positioning or wording

12 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Perceptions of specific crimes National/local distinction repeated for specific crimes but generally gap larger for (rarer) violent crimes

13 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Relationship between perception and reality Small proportions in lower crime areas think they live in high crime areas Proportion thinking they live in higher than average crime area rises with rising crime levels

14 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Changes in local crime by area type Proportion who think crime has risen locally declines with falling levels of actual crime, except for card fraud

15 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Conclusions –Suggests that public have a more realistic view of crime as far as their local area is concerned –Some discrimination evident when asking about specific crimes and fits with reality –Perceptions of trends in national crime out of line with trends from BCS (not that surprising) –Some speculative thoughts as to why: –Few people study crime statistics –Perception of spin/decline in levels of trust –Media tend to lead with crime rises and dont put them into context –New types of crime have become more prevalent

16 CRIME SURVEYS USER GROUP 7 December 2009 Further information Link to publication:


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