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The World of Crime

The World of Crime
Breaking the Silence on Problems of Security, Justice and Development Across the World

  • Jan Van Dijk - International Vicimology Institute, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

February 2008 | 456 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

In today's interdependent world, governments must become more transparent about their crime and justice problems. The World of Crime: Breaking the Silence on Problems of Security, Justice and Development Across the World seeks to break the "conspiracy of silence" regarding statistical information on these sensitive issues. It subsequently analyzes the macro causes of crime such as rapid urbanization, economic inequality, gender discrimination, abuse of alcohol, and drugs and availability of guns. Furthermore, the book analyzes the impact of crime on individuals and societies. Using a wealth of statistical information, the author underlines the need of greater international efforts to tackle transnational problems of crime.

Key Features
- Presents 13 chapters, which are organized in 4 main parts, that cover measurement challenges, common crimes, emerging global crimes, criminal justice, and international perspectives on crime and justice
- Contains statistical data taken from 2005 International Crime Victim Surveys
- Includes high quality figures such as scatter plots, graphs, and maps
- Features summary reviews and figure footnotes at the ends of each chapter

Intended Audience: The book is intended as a supplementary text for introduction to criminology, criminal justice, and comparative justice courses and is also appropriate for those professionally interested in security, criminal justice and development.

Chapter 1. The need of better crime diagnostics
The uses of international crime statistics

International crime statistics: the sorry state of the art

Crime as a social construct

International crime statistics as controversial knowledge

Twenty years of thwarted efforts

ICVS: bringing the bad news

Breaking the silence

Summary points/in conclusion

Chapter 2. Mismeasuring Crime
International crime figures available

A crime is a crime ?

Recording practices of the police

Reporting patterns

The breakthrough of crime victimization surveys

Victim satisfaction and trust levels

The more recorded crime, the less crime ?

Police recorded crime and victimization rates compared

Other uses of police recorded crime statistics

Police figures as trend indicators

A moratorium on police figures?

The political context of crime surveying

Summary points/in conclusion

Chapter 3. The burden of property crime
Over all levels of crime

Five year victimization rates

Alternative measures of the crime burden

Victimization by property crime


Theft and frauds

Consumer fraud

Car crimes

Car theft and joyriding

Car hijacking



The heavy crime burden of the business sector

Costs for businesses

Summary points/ in conclusion

Chapter 4. Patterns of violent crime

National homicide rates


Hate crimes in Western Europe

Sexual assault/ rape

Violence against women revisited

Towards further standardization

Child abuse and the cycle of violence

Summary points/ in conclusion

Chapter 5. Determinants of common crimes
Comparative perspectives

Urbanization and crime

Regional patterns and future trends of urbanization

Demographics and crime

Future demographic trends

Affluence and crime

Mass transportation and crime

Patterns of vehicle theft at second sight

More affluence-less crime?

Development and crime revisited

Poverty and inequality

Criminal victimization and gender inequality

Drugs and alcohol abuse

Alcohol abuse and violence

Trends in alcohol consumption

Availability of guns

Firearms and violent crime

Guns and violence in developing countries

Summary points/in conclusion

Chapter 6. Global crime trends
Global trends in common crimes

European trends in focus

Trends in police recorded crimes

Explaining the drop in crime

Responsive securitization and the drop in crime

The growing North-South security divide

Crime and conflict

Latin America: the price of democracy

Summary points/in conclusion (part II)

Chapter 7. Assessing organized crime
The new crime threats

The changing nature of organized crime

Illicit markets

Defining organized crime

Measurement issues

The alternative of victimization surveys among the business community

Towards an organized crime perception index

Other “markers” of organized crime presence

Instrumental violence

The organized crime-corruption complex

Other “markers” of organized crime: money-laundering and the black economy

Composite organized crime index

Country scores

Trends in organized crime

Participation of national organized crime groups in criminal markets

Trafficking in persons

Organized car theft

The intercorrelates of crime

Tentative transnational responses

The US report on trafficking in persons

Summary points/in conclusion

Chapter 8. Other global security threats: corruption, terrorism and cyber crime
Defining corruption

Corruption indicators : perceptions and experiences

Assessing the merits of objective and subjective indicator

Corruption victimizations in the corporate world

Business crime surveys

Patterns and trends in terrorist crimes

The incidence of terrorism

Correlates of terrorism

Terrorism and organized crime

Cyber crime : trends in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) crimes

Computer-facilitated crime

No Asian exception

Computers, organized crime and terrorism

Summary point/in conclusion: redrawing the global crime map

Chapter 9. Law enforcement, crime prevention and victim assistance
Trends in criminal justice resources

Allocation of resources to law enforcement and criminal justice

Human resources for police and private security

Police workloads

The private security industry

Trends in private policing

More police-less crime?

Homicide conviction rates as performance measure

Towards a composite index for police performance

Resources, performance and integrity

Victim empowerment and support

Victim reception by the police

Trends in victim satisfaction

Victim support services

Implementing the UN Victims Declaration

International best practices in crime prevention

Guidelines for the prevention of crime

Evidence-based approaches

Planning and implementation

Summary points/in conclusion

Chapter 10. Courts and sentencing
Judges and magistrates

Gender balance in the courts

Perceived independence and integrity of the judiciary

Towards an international code of conduct for judges

Public attitudes towards sentencing

In conclusion

Chapter 11. Corrections: a global perspective
Trends in prisoners rates

National prison populations

Expanding use of imprisonement

Interpreting prisoners rates

Costs and limits of imprisonment

The search for alternatives

Benchmarking prisoners rates

An index of punitiveness

Summary points/in conclusion

Chapter 12. Security, rule of law and sustainable development
Introductory remarks

Legal institutions and the level of non-conventional crime

Rule of law and terrorism

Trafficking in persons and police performance.

Good governance and development

Good governance, development and the rule of crime

Organized crime as Troian horse

Vicious crimino-economic circles

Summary points/in conclusion

Chapter 13. Crime and justice: the need of global reform
Diagnosing crime

A culture of lawfullness

Country profiles at a glance

Costs of crime: the global crime bill

Lawfulness and human development

The North- South ‘security divide’

The ‘justice deficit’

Security and justice reform first

The UN Millenium Development Goals

A more secure world

Appendix A: Datasources and data
International Crime Victim Surveys (ICVS)



Technical note on ICVS data presentation

The International Crime Business Survey (ICBS)

The International Violence Against Women Survey (IVAWS)

The United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems

Definition of terms

Some Other Techincal Matters

Method for construction of composite indexes

Method for constructing scatter plots

Method for constructing bar charts

Appendix B Data tables
Appendix B: Data tables

"This book is important for students who want to put domestic crime and justice issues and criminological theories in an international perspective....It is more than likely that this book will also interest all those who are professionally or privately interested in issues of crime, corruption, terrorism, law enforcement, criminal justice and sustainable development."

Johnson Thomas

Excellent coverage of the topic.

Dr Stephanie Bush-Baskette
Other, Rutgers University
November 5, 2011

Much of the content of this book will be useful across the MSc programme. In particular, the global perspective will be useful for a course aimed at the international market.

Ms Helen Poole
Social Science , Coventry University
July 15, 2010

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 3

Chapter 5

For instructors

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