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An effect which deprives a statistical result of representativeness by systematically distorting it, as distinct from a random error which may distort on any one occasion but balances out on the average.
A technique where some information gathered through the current or previous surveys is used to avoid double counting of victimization incidents. In the NCVS, this is done by providing the interviewer with a summary of the incidents reported in the preceding interview and, if a similar incident is reported, it can be determined whether or not it is a new one by discussing it with the victim. Events which occurred after the reference period can be set aside for inclusion with the data from the following interview.
A sizable portion of criminal events are never reported to the police and are therefore not included in police or any other statistics. This unknown number is often referred to as the “dark figure” of crime. Victimization surveys may capture a part of the “dark figure”.
Coding is the technical procedure for converting verbal information into numbers or other symbols which can be more easily counted and tabulated.
Data disclosure. Disclosure relates to the inappropriate attribution of information to a data subject, whether an individual or an organization. Disclosure has two components: identification and attribution.
Data processing. The operation performed on data in order to derive new information according to a given set of rules.
Respondent turns down the interview and refuses to make
another appointment/does not cooperate. This is generally the end of
contact with this particular respondent. See also soft refusal.
Either a one-person household, defined as an arrangement in which one
person makes provision for his or her own food or other essentials
for living without combining with any other person to form part of
a multi-person household, defined as a group of two or more persons
living together who make common provision for food or other essentials
for living. The persons in the group may pool their incomes and have
a related or unrelated person or a combination of persons both related
and unrelated. This arrangement exemplifies the housekeeping concept.
In an alternative definition used in many countries exemplifying the
so-called household-dwelling concept, a household consist of all persons
living together in a housing unit.
The number of new cases per unit of time in a given population, or the numbers of new cases divided by the size of the population at risk.
The incidence of an event is the number of new occurrences of the event that occur during a specified period of time in a population at risk for the occurrence of the event. The incidence rate is the number of new occurrences of the event divided by the size of the population at risk for the occurrence of the event.
Imputation is a procedure for entering a value for a specific data item where the response is missing or unusable.
A type of composite measure developed by Renis Likert (1932) in an attempt to improve measurement in social research through the use of standardized response categories in survey questionnaires. Likert items are those using such response categories as strongly agree, agree, disagree and strongly disagree. Such items may be used in the construction of true Likert scales as well as other types of composite measures.
Memory decay is a natural phenomenon, which is part of the “forgetting” process. Although natural decay is not the only theory of forgetting (for example, it cannot explain why some information may be temporarily forgotten and perfectly retrieved at a later point), in victimization surveys, memory decay indicates that respondents may simply forget incidents that happened to them.
Electronic databases comprising the individual survey records, anonymized
A case of a respondent who was the victim of more than one type of crime. It differs from ‘Repeat Victimization’ which refers to a case of a respondent who was the victim of the same type of crime more than once.
A sample of units where the selected units in the sample have an unknown probability of being selected and where some units of the target population may even have no chance at all of being in the sample. Forms of non-probability sampling are numerous, such as voluntary samples (only responses of volunteers are used), quota samples, expert samples.
In sample surveys, the failure to obtain information from a designated individual for any reason (death, absence, refusal or reply) is often called a non-response and the proportion of such individuals of the sample is called the non-response rate.
An error in sample estimates which cannot be attributed to sampling fluctuations. Such errors may arise from many different sources such as defects in the frame, faulty demarcation of sample units, defects in the selection of sample units, mistakes in the collection of date due personal variations or misunderstanding or bias, negligence, or dishonesty on the part of the investigator or the interviewee, mistakes at the stage of processing of the data, etcetera.
Outsource data collection.
To have an external market research or other related business take over part of the work of the survey. This can be a quicker and cheaper alternative, and for agencies who do not maintain panels of interviewers or other forms of infrastructure necessary to conduct population-based surveys, this can be an important option to cost and consider.
A survey, usually on a small scale, carried out prior the main survey, primarily to gain information to improve the efficiency of the main survey. For example, it may be used to test questionnaire, to ascertain the time taken by field procedures or to determine the most effective size of the sampling unit. The term “exploratory survey” is also used in those special circumstances when little is known about the material or domain under inquiry.
Typically a census of all criminal offences reported to, or detected by, the police and subsequently recorded as crimes.
Before starting survey fieldwork, it is important to pre-test the questionnaire to check whether its wording correctly conveys relevant concepts to the respondents. This is particularly important in the case of questionnaires translated into different languages.
The percentage of respondents who have experienced victimization at least once during the reference period. It differs from the incidence rate which indicates the number of incidents. The prevalence of a characteristic is the number of existing cases of the characteristic in a population at a designated time. Prevalence is measured either at a point of time or during a period of time. The prevalence rate is the number of existing cases of the characteristic divided by the size of the population in which the characteristic was identified and counted.
Probability sampling. Any method of selection of a sample based on the theory of probability; at any stage of the operation of selection the probability of any set of units being selected must be known. It is the only general method known which can provide a measure of precision of the estimate. Sometimes the term random sampling is used in the sense of probability sampling.
A planned and systematic pattern of all the actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that a product will conform to established requirements.
Quality control in the data review process measures the impact of data adjustment on the data. The statistical analysis of process inspection data for the purpose of controlling the quality of a manufactured product which is produced in large numbers. It aims at tracking and eliminating systematic variations in quality, or reducing them to an acceptable level, leaving the remaining variation to chance.
More recent incidents are more easily remembered than those occurring even a few months earlier. This phenomenon (similar to Memory decay) may generate a bias, that is, an effect which deprives the statistical result of representativeness by systematically distorting it towards more recent incidents (see also Internal telescoping).
Crime incident reported to the competent authorities, normally the
police, that has been included in relevant records and categorized
as a crime (synonymous with registered crime).
In one sense, this is synonymous with base period. It may also refer
to the length of time, for example, week or year, for which data are
A case of a respondent who was the victim of the same type of crime more
than once. It differs from ‘multiple victimization’ which refers to
a case of a respondent who was thevictim of more than one type of crime.
Crime incident reported to the competent authorities, normally the police.
Respondent burden. The effort, in terms of time and cost, required for respondents to provide satisfactory answers to a survey.
The number of respondents who complete a questionnaire compared to the
number assigned, usually expressed as a percentage. The response rate
can also apply to individual questions.
Sampling bias. Efecto
que That part of the difference between the expected value of the sample
estimator and the true value of the characteristic which results from
the sampling procedure, the estimating procedure, or a combination
That part of the difference between a population value and an estimate
thereof, derived from random sample, which is due to the fact that
only a sample o values is observed, as distinct from errors due to
imperfect selection, bias in response or estimation, errors of observation
and recording, etc. The totality of sampling errors in all possible
samples of the same size generates the sampling distribution of the
statistics which is being used to estimate the parent value.
Secondary victimization means the victimization that occurs not as a direct result of the criminal act but through the response of institutions and individuals to the victim. (Council of Europe, Committee of Ministries, Recommendation Rec (2006) 8 to Member States on assistance to crime victims)
Interviewers involved in victimization surveys require special training
to be able to ask sensitive questions and professionally deal with
the respondent’s emotions.
Screening design – the statistical design for a programme of experiments
which has the object of selecting a promising subset of treatments
for further development. In victimization surveys, typical screening
questions aim at ascertaining the respondent’s experience of victimization.
The first time a respondent declines to participate in the survey,
the respondent may be coded as a case of “soft refusal” and further
attempts at recruiting him/her for the survey can be made. “Soft
refusals” may turn into “hard refusals” when the respondent clearly
indicates he/she does not intent to cooperate.
A survey is an investigation about the characteristics of a given population by means of collecting data from a sample of that population and estimating their characteristics through the systematic use of statistical methodology.
Target Population. The target population is the set of units to be studied, for example the general population or businesses. In relation to victimization, the target population is the set of units that could be victims of the crimes under study.
Telescoping is the phenomenon by which respondents tend to change their
recollection of the time when incidents occurred. External telescoping
refers to incidents of victimizations occurring outside the survey
reference period, which are instead mentioned to the interviewer as
if they happened within the survey reference period. Internal telescoping
is the tendency of survey respondents to remember crime incidents occurring
more recently than they really did. Incidents within the survey reference
period may be moved by respondents from the more distant past to the
more recent past.
Unfounded incidents are those discarded as it could not be proven they
were crimes or did not occurred as they were reported.
‘Victims’ means persons who, individually or collectively, have suffered
harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic
loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through
acts or omissions that are in violation of criminal laws operative
within Member States, including those laws proscribing criminal abuse
of power. (UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims
of Crime and Abuse of Power, 1985).
A crime as it affects one individual person or household. For personal crimes, the number of victimizations is equal to the number of victims involved. The number of victimizations may be greater than the number of incidents because more than one person may be victimized during an incident. Each crime against a household is assumed to involve a single victim, the affected household.
Victimization rate .
A measure of the occurrence of victimizations among a specified population group. It may be calculated as a number per 100 or 1,000 and based on households or individuals.
Victimless crime .
Forms of illegal behavior that is unlikely to be known by the police because of their being consensual in nature, so the participants have no reason to complain to the police.
Please consult job opportunities at the Center of Excellence and at UNODC’s Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
Internships at the Center of Excellence are unpaid temporary placements which enable undergraduate and graduate students to participate in the design and development of different international research projects as well as to capitalize on the resources generated by the strategic partnership between UNODC and INEGI in issues regarding crime, public security, victimization and justice.
Through their assignments, interns can also participate in ongoing projects and contribute to the accomplishment of their objectives.
One of the main requirements for the production, analysis and diffusion of statistics on public security, victimization and justice in Latin America is the development of strong human and institutional capacities which enable the design and implementation of high quality statistic processes.
For this reason, the Center of Excellence will:
Organize training workshops and debate forums,
Create training resources to improve the implementation of crime and victimization surveys in Latin America
Create training resources to improve the quality of statistical data on crime and victimization in Latin America.
Throughout 2011 and 2012 the Center will organize a number of training activities aimed at improving statistic capacities in Latin America, particularly in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
The Centre of Excellence and INEGI organized a workshop on the development of results-oriented indicators
Mexico City.- From April 1st to 5th, the Centre of Excellence in Statistical Information on Government, Crime, Victimization and Justice and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico (INEGI), carried out the workshop "Introduction to Measuring Methods through the use of Indicators". This workshop highlighted the importance to create good quality indicators to measure and assess public policies.
Representatives from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), INEGI, and the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City were represented during the workshop. The speakers represented several institutions such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Superior Court of Justice of Mexico City (TSJDF), UNDP and INEGI The sessions of this workshop addressed the importance of creating high quality indicators oriented to measure and evaluate the outcomes obtained in each process and project . The contents of this workshop will be available shortly on the Centre of Excellence website.
Experts discuss crime statistics.
On February 4th - 6th the Centre of Excellence participated and co-organized an Expert Group meeting. During this meeting experts discussed a report prepared jointly by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico (INEGI) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which will be presented to the United Nations Statistical Commission during its coming 44th session.
The report describes a road map to improve the quality and availability of national and global crime statistics. During this meeting, several topics were discussed such as the coordination of relevant actors in statistical production, the need to have clear statistical definitions for crime and justice procedures, as well as the creation of manuals to guide data collection and analysis oriented to satisfy policy making information demands.
Second Consultation Meeting on the international Crime Classification.
From February 7th - 8th, 2013 the second Consultation Meeting for developing an International Crime Classification for Statistical Purposes was carried out at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
This second meeting was a follow up for the previous consultation, which took place in Mexico City on October 2012. During these sessions crimes related to drugs, aggressions against authorities and public order, among others were discussed. The participants recognized the opportunity for developing an International Crime Classification for Statistical Purposes, based on events and not on legal definitions of crimes will facilitate its consistency and comparability. The coming activities to further develop this Classification will be supported by the Center of Excellence in Statistical Information on Government, Crime, Victimization and Justice.
Statistics is the science by which we try to figure out and make sense of the data from the real world; thus, 2013 has been considered as the international year of statistics
Rodolfo Calderon Umaña
Universidad: FLACSO, Costa Rica
Pais de Origen: Costa Rica
Tesis: Transgresores y Globalización en Costa Rica: Un Análisis de las Causas Sociales del Delito.
Ganador de Maestría:
Luis Francisco Rodriguez Lima
Universidad: Warwick, Inglaterra
Pais de Origen: México
Tesis: Enforcement and Robbery in México: An Economic Approach.
Ganador de Licenciatura:
Ernesto Carlos Leyva Pedrosa
Universidad: ITAM, México
Pais de Origen: México
Tesis: Lavado de dinero en México, estimación de su magnitud y análisis de su combate a través de la inteligencia financiera.
Second International Thesis Competition on Public Security, Victimization and Justice in
The establishment of "Centers of Excellence" (CoE) fits into a new strategy of UNODC to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In the case of Mexico, the Center of Excellence for Government Statistical Information, Public Security, Victimization and Justice has been developed by UNODC and INEGI together to generate and develop statistical information on these topics. CoE is how this reinforces the Integrated Programme in Security and Justice, Government of Mexico with UNODC and the Government Subsystem, Public Security, Victimization and Justice INEGI. The final intention of UNODC and INEGI is to contribute to the development of best practices that can serve as a reference point for the creation of public policies, proven methodologies, cooperation between countries and promoting the upgrade, continuous training and expertise in the subject .
To strengthen regional and global statistical capacities to process data on government, public security, victimization and justice through the provision of tools for data collection, analysis and dissemination; personnel training; the creation of statistical knowledge; sharing of methodologies; and promotion of international standards; as well as generation of research within these fields.
Develop data collection instruments to gather information on the above-mentioned topics.
Undertake research and analysis on crime and victimization trends using statistical data.
Improve the quantity and quality of data generated through crime-related surveys.
Improve the quantity and quality of data generated by administrative records.
Disseminate knowledge and exchange data through the release of publications.
Improve the institutional frameworks of statistical processes related to the generation and analysis of crime-related data.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was established in order to address issues related with drugs control, crime prevention and the fight against international terrorism from a sustainable development and human security approach.
Since its establishment in 1997, UNODC has relied mainly on voluntary contributions, particularly from national governments, in order to fund its activities.
UNODC’s primary function is to promote the ratification and implementation of different international treaties and institutional reforms as well as to direct technical cooperation projects designed to monitor, prevent and curb organized crime as well as the production, traffic and use of illegal narcotics.
Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography is an autonomous public institution responsible for the production of statistic data regarding demographic, social, environmental and economic phenomena as well as information on government, public security, victimization and justice.
INEGI regulates and coordinates Mexico’s National System of Statistical and Geographic Information. The information it produces contributes to national development as it allows public authorities and representatives of various sectors to have a better understanding of reality, and to evaluate the results of their performance as well as the efficiency of public policies.
For this reason, INEGI is also an essential pillar for those who wish to conduct academic research on issues concerning Mexico and Latin America.
Although the scope of the Center is global, its activities are mainly directed at Latin American countries.
The Center’s focal partners are regional governments, national statistics institutes and organizations focused on the production and analysis of statistics (academic, and nongovernmental)
For further information, please consult the Center’s Directory.
Knowing who (and under which conditions) is more prone to become a victim of crime is an essential element for the design of any public policy which intends to bolster security.
Moreover, analyzing criminal phenomena from the victim’s perspective helps to understand the diverse features of delinquency and institutional responses to crime from a different perspective.
This section provides information related to the dark figure of crime, fear of crime and perceptions of insecurity. The purpose of promoting research in these areas is to enhance comparative analyses as well as to contribute to the design of better law enforcement and crime prevention strategies.
The existence of an efficient criminal justice system is essential for the development and consolidation of any democracy. In Latin America, however, judiciary institutions have come under strong criticism for their backwardness as well as their lack of transparency.
For this reason, the production of better data, generated through the use of international quality criteria and standardized methodologies is essential in order to conduct accurate research which enables the development of policy-relevant analyses to improve the efficiency of judiciary institutions.
This section provides information regarding judiciary and penitentiary system reforms as well as best practices in the prosecution of crime and the management of administrative records.
Lack of public security is one of the major problems in many Latin American countries. This is partly the consequence of a continuous increase in criminal activity within the region, exacerbated by the inadequacy of crime prevention and law enforcement strategies.
This section provides information related to issues such as the social prevention of crime, police reform and the development of indicators in order to measure crime trends, crime incidence, recidivism as well as the efficiency of law enforcement agencies and crime reduction strategies.
Through research in these areas the Center aims to contribute to the comprehension of Latin America’s situation regarding crime, to enhance knowledge concerning differences between crime rates and perceptions of insecurity and to provide accurate data to improve the design of efficient strategies to fight and prevent criminal behavior.
Public institutions are the main suppliers of security. For this reason, the Center of Excellence, in accordance with the principles of UNODC, considers that research and data production regarding transparency, corruption and accountability.
For this reason, researchers and policy makers must have access to accurate data and precise indicators regarding the performance of public institutions and the efficiency of public administration.
This section provides information related to the management and performance of public institutions at the local, state and federal levels.