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European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics: A New Tool in Assessing Crime and Policy Issues in Comparative and Empirical Perspective

NCJ Number
European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research Volume: 8 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2000 Pages: 3-12
Martin Killias; Wolfgang Rau
Date Published
March 2000
10 pages
This article describes the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics and its role in assessing crime and policy issues in comparative and empirical perspective.
Theories which suggest a relationship between crime or criminal justice variables on the one hand and variables related to criminal justice policies on the other hand cannot be tested without reference to historic or comparative data. International comparisons offer the most powerful test of such theories, but policy-related research in Europe has suffered from a lack of valid comparative data. Whether crime data from different countries are comparable has always been subject to controversies. For the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice, a network of specialists was established under the auspices of the Council of Europe in order to assess the validity of the data. Although some problems in cross-country level comparisons could not be resolved, the Sourcebook offers comparative data on 36 Member States of the Council of Europe on a variety of subjects, including: offenses and offenders known to the police; prosecution, convictions, sentences and corrections; survey data; and indications on manpower and budgets of police forces, prosecutors and corrections. Notes