European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 187-223

First online:

Crime Trends in the EU

  • Chris LewisAffiliated withInstitute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth Email author 
  • , Gordon BarclayAffiliated withHome Office
  • , Bruno Aubusson De CavarlayAffiliated withCESDIP
  • , Maria JoĀo Morgado CostaAffiliated withLegal Policy and Planning Office, Ministry of Justice
  • , Paul SmitAffiliated withWODC

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The paper’s aim is to show to EU policy makers, academics, journalists and the general public what the available information tells us about crime levels, trends in crime and public opinion about crime among Member States. The paper centres on an analysis of current trends on crime levels and trends based on the data available both from victimisation surveys and police statistics. The victimisation survey source is the published data collected in the International Crime Victimisation Survey. A separate analysis based on the Eurobarometer was also carried out. Data on police statistics present two separate sources i.e. the Council of Europe Sourcebook and the crime data published annually by the UK Home Office. These two sources both add considerable value to the raw police statistics by their choice of data, their commentary and their technical explanations and definitions. The paper compares data on three crime types (robbery, domestic burglary and theft of a motor vehicle) across the 15 Member States of the European Union (as in 2003). These three types were selected in line with the priorities of the EU Commission and as types of crime that are a major concern for EU-citizens. The paper has been modified from a report produced by the European Crime prevention network for the EU Directorate of Justice and Home Affairs with the permission of the EU. The members of the network are listed in the appendix.

Key Words

domestic burglary European Union international comparisons motor vehicle theft robbery statistics victimisation