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Last Revised:
 28 September, 2000

United Nations Surveys on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems
[Background] [Global Report on Crime and Justice] [Surveys]

General background

The collection of statistics on crime at the international level was first  considered in 1853. The Economic and Social  Council, in its resolution 1984/48 of 25 May 1984, requested the  Secretary-General to maintain and develop the United Nations crime-related  database by continuing to conduct the surveys of crime trends and operations of  criminal justice systems. The major goal of the United Nations Surveys on Crime  Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems is to collect data on the  incidence of reported crime and the operations of criminal justice systems with  a view to improving the analysis and dissemination of that information  globally. The Survey results will provide an overview of trends and  interrelationships between various parts of the criminal justice system so as to  promote informed decision making in administration, both nationally and  cross-nationally. The Survey, now in its Sixth wave, has been shortened by 65%  to ease completion.

The data gathered is beneficial to both the international community and to each responding Government.
Firstly, information is used by the United Nations in determining crime trends and problem areas for intervention in the form of technical cooperation.

Secondly, the data gathered will provide information for research study  reports such as the Global Report on Crime and  Justice (Oxford  University Press, 1999).

The European Institute for Crime Prevention and  Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI) has carried out an European and  North American analysis of the United Nations Crime Surveys covering years 1975  - 1994. The analysis has resulted in 7 publications. The report on the Fifth United Nations  Survey differs  considerably from its predecessors. Data have been supplemented by other  information sources, including in particular the results of the International Crime (Victim)  Survey.


On 14 February 2000, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina created, under its auspices, the Latin American Crime and Justice Research Institute, IIDEJUAL. The IIDEJUAL has as its long-term goal the creation of a clearinghouse of data and information on crime and justice in the Latin American region and collaborates with CICP.

Thirdly, the data  can be utilized by Governments interested in comparing themselves to other similarly situated States.

Survey waves: