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[187] 22 March 2021: Global Crime Patterns: An Analysis of Survey Data from 166 Countries Around the World, 2006–2019

Inleiding en context

Goede maandagmorgen allemaal, het is vandaag 22 maart 2021. Vanochtend treffen jullie een prachtige ´kennisparel´ aan in jullie mail. Het betreft een zeer recent verschenen onderzoek naar de criminaliteitsontwikkeling in maar liefst 166 landen. Het betreft een analyse waarin de wereldwijde geografische distributie van criminaliteit wordt gepresenteerd. Er wordt een trend over de jaren 2006 – 2019 gegeven over drie vormen van veel voorkomende criminaliteit, moord en georganiseerde misdaad. De gehanteerde indices die worden gebruikt om de wereldwijde geografische verschillen tussen deze drie typen van criminaliteit te verklaren zijn: armoede, (sociale) ongelijkheid, aandeel van jeugd in de bevolking, aanwezigheid van gelegenheidsstructuren (urbanisatie en welvaart) en rechtshandhaving / rule of law.

Bron

Dijk, Jan van, Paul Nieuwbeerta & Jacqueline Joudo Larsen (March 2021). Global Crime Patterns: An Analysis of Survey Data from 166 Countries Around the World, 2006–2019. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 20 march, pp.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10940-021-09501-0?wt_mc=Internal.Event.1.SEM.ArticleAuthorOnlineFirst&utm_source=ArticleAuthorOnlineFirst&utm_medium=email&utm_content=AA_en_06082018&ArticleAuthorOnlineFirst_20210321

Summary

This article explores the merits of commercially-based survey data on crime through cross-validation with established crime metrics. Using unpublished data from 166 countries covering the period between 2006 and 2019, the article describes the geographical distribution across global regions and trends over time of three types of common crime, homicide, and organised crime. The article then explores possible determinants of the geographical distributions through regressing prevalence rates against indices of poverty, inequality, proportion of youth, presence of criminal opportunities (wealth and urbanisation), and governance/rule of law.

The results show that African and Latin American countries suffer from the highest levels of various types of crime across the board, followed by countries in Asia. European, North American and Australian countries experience intermediate or relatively low levels of most types of crime. Levels of common crime have dropped or stabilized globally except in Africa where they went up. Homicides have fallen almost universally. Trends in organised crime are diverging. Dimensions of governance emerged as powerful determinants of levels of all types of crime. Important determinants of common crime besides governance were poverty, inequality, and proportion of youth. To some extent changes in these same characteristics of countries were found to be correlated with changes in levels of crime over the past fifteen years. The article concludes with a discussion of the study’s limitations and suggestions for further research.

In recent years polling companies have started to supply survey-based datasets on levels of various types of common and non-common crime across the world. Cross-validation with results from in-depth criminological studies such as the International Crime Victims Survey has shown encouraging results in this study. Country prevalence of common criminality can apparently be reasonably well estimated with just two catch-all items on theft and assault/muggings in national sample surveys. Credible data on (recorded) homicides and perceptions of organised crime and corruption have also become available. The datasets used on prevalence of thefts, assaults/muggings, common crime overall, (recorded) homicides, and organised crime/corruption, covering 166 countries worldwide, shows huge variation across regions and sub-regions. By far the highest levels of common crime are experienced by populations in the Global South, most notably in Africa—especially sub-Saharan Africa- and Latin America. Levels of homicide are highest in Latin America, particularly in Central America and the Caribbean, followed by Southern Africa. Organised crime shows, once again, the highest concentrations across Africa and Latin America, and in Asia. Within the Western world, Eastern and Southern Europe and the USA stand out with comparatively high scores on organised crime/corruption.

By and large, the geographical distribution reveals the existence of a deep North–South Security Divide in the beginning of the twenty-first century. Over the past fifteen years this gap has widened by the continued rise in levels of common crime in Africa and South Asia and of homicides in Central America while almost everywhere else these forms of crime have dropped. Trends in organised crime, including grand corruption, show a somewhat different picture with decreases in sub-Saharan Africa, and increases in Latin and North America, Australia and parts of Europe. Differences in the geographical distribution of different types of crime and divergent trends in these types of crime between 2006 and 2019 shed doubt on general theories about the macro-causes of crime. This is confirmed by our explorative analyses of relationships between determinants of crime and levels of various types of crime. Traditional ideas about ‘root causes of crime’ such as poverty and inequality emerged strongly in regression analyses of levels of common crime but less so in those of homicides and organised crime. Apart from these common causes of crime, levels of common crime seem to be co-determined by the availability of easy targets of theft and reduced social control in urban environments. Urbanization, however, is totally unrelated to levels of homicides or organised crime.

Our explorative analyses furthermore point at the pervasive impact of governance-related factors on crime levels: prevalence of all types of crime is significantly higher to the extent that state and democratic institutions are weaker. This appears to be true not only, as was to be expected from previous studies, for homicide and organised crime, but, to some extent, for common crime as well. A subsequent analysis of the correlates of trends over time of common crime confirmed the role of governance-related factors in explaining variation across countries in the movement of various types of crime. Besides, changes in common crime over the past fifteen years were strongly related to ongoing urbanization, increased proportions of young and growing inequalities. The exceptional, and pronounced increases in common crime in Sub-Saharan countries, discussed above, are likely to have been driven by expanding ‘youth bulges’ across the region.

The findings concerning governance conform to, and elaborate on the New Institutionalist School in comparative economics. The institutional capacity of countries seems to be the principal driver not just of sustainable development but of internal security as well. Between economic stagnation and organised crime appear to exist nefarious, mutually reinforcing relationships. Linkages between governance, development and common crime, partly mediated by governance-related factors as (extreme) poverty, inequality, and high proportions of (marginalised) youth, are close as well. Many poorer nations seem in the grip of vicious circles of poorly functioning state institutions, underdevelopment, expanding youth bulges and accompanying high levels of all sorts of crime. Our results underline the importance of reducing levels of crime and violence as integral part of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Afsluitend

Op veel beleidsterreinen bestaat een lange traditie om te bepalen hoe de situatie in Nederland zich verhoudt tot andere (geïndustrialiseerde) landen. Te denken valt bijvoorbeeld aan de vergelijking van het presterend vermogen binnen het onderwijs, milieu, (openbaar) vervoer en verkeer, arbeidsmarkt, financiële markten, landbouw, welzijn, klimaat, digitale economie, kwaliteit van het leven, migratiebeleid, armoedebestrijding en volksgezondheid. Er is sprake van een rijkdom aan openbare bronnen op velerlei beleidsterreinen waarmee onder andere  benchmark studies kunnen worden vervaardigd. Waarom is het belangrijk om kennis te nemen van dergelijke internationale vergelijkingen rond de ontwikkeling van criminaliteit, de oorzaken daarvan en de voorgestane maatregelen en interventies daartegen?  

In de eerste plaats is internationale vergelijking een van de weinige manieren om tot een enigszins geobjectiveerde en inzichtelijke beoordeling te komen van de eigen positie waar het de omvang en ernst van criminaliteit betreft. Op systematische wijze kan vervolgens de oorzaak hiervan worden geduid om vervolgens bewezen mogelijkheden tot verbetering te achterhalen. Dit ondanks de haken en ogen die aan internationale vergelijking op dit terrein zijn verbonden. De methode sluit ook aan bij benchmarking als bedrijfskundige methode. In de tweede plaats beïnvloedt de criminaliteitsontwikkeling op lange termijn de economische concurrentiepositie van een land. Inzicht in de relatieve positie van Nederland ten opzichte van belangrijke concurrenten is daarom van belang. In de derde plaats wint door internationalisering het kennen van de eigen positie aan belang. Harmonisatie en convergentie binnen de EU, maar ook in mondiale kaders doen steeds vaker vragen rijzen hoe de situatie in Nederland zich op specifieke punten verhoudt tot die in andere landen. Hierop toegespitst is de doelstelling van de internationale vergelijking het verkennen van:

         •        Prestaties van publieke sector ter bestrijding van criminaliteit;

         •        Terreinen waarop verbetering nodig is;

         •        Bedreigingen;

         •        Kansrijke mogelijkheden voor verbetering.

Kortom: bijgesloten ´kennisparel´ van vanochtend biedt genoeg ´food for thought´ voor beleidsmakers en beslissers om te bepalen hoe Nederland zijn justitiële en criminaliteitsbeleid kan vorm geven op basis van internationale vergelijkingen.