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Population and Social Conditions

NCJ Number
Cynthia Tavares; Geoffrey Thomas
Date Published
16 pages
This report by Eurostat presents data on crime trends in European countries recorded by police for 2002-08, together with information on prison populations and the number of police officers for these years.
The total number of crimes recorded by the police in the European Union is decreasing. Until 2002, the trend was upwards. The countries in which the decreases were most noticeable include the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and France. In some of the new member states, crime rates peaked slightly near the beginning of the study period but were declining at the end of the period, and of the years examined. In a few southern countries, including Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Italy, and Cyprus, crime rates have risen. There is some indication among the Nordic member states that after a period of decreasing crime, the trend is now upwards. Within the total crime trends, there were different tendencies for specific offense types. For the European Union (EU) as a whole, police recorded instances of domestic burglary and drug trafficking both remained virtually stable since 2005; whereas, violent crime (including robbery) and thefts of motor vehicles have declined. The prison population rate has remained generally high in most countries in the eastern part of the EU compared to the rest, but it is gradually declining; and the prison populations have grown in some western member states, including Spain and the United Kingdom. It was difficult to compare the number of police officers in different countries, since definitions vary. The data available for most EU countries include criminal police, traffic police, border police, gendarmeries, uniformed police, city guard, and municipal police. Generally excluded are civilian staff, customs officers, tax police, military police, secret service police, special duty police reserves, cadets, and court police. 2 figures and 9 tables