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Piecing Together the Cross-National Crime Puzzle

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Dated: January 2000 Pages: 34-41
Jan van Dijk; Kristiina Kangaspunta
Date Published
January 2000
8 pages
This article examines the challenges in understanding how crime varies across countries.
To develop a deeper understanding of how crime varies across countries, HEUNI, the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control affiliated with the United Nations, regularly analyzes criminal justice data collected by the UN from its member states. The latest analysis focused on the differences among European and North American countries and was based on the Fifth United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems 1990-1994, as well as on data from the International Crime Victim Survey. This article discusses three of the eight crimes that HEUNI studied: (1)property crime; (2) violence and corruption in Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe; and (3) North America. The article reviews the pitfalls of using international statistics as well as sociological and behavioral factors related to crime, comparing crime in three regions and framing the international debate on crime reduction. It also includes selected country-specific findings. Notes