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European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 251–277 | Cite as

Is There a Crime Drop in Western Europe?

  • Marcelo F. Aebi
  • Antonia Linde
Article

Abstract

Combining data from police statistics and crime victim surveys, this article analyses the evolution of crime in Western Europe from 1988 to 2007. The results show that there is no general drop in crime. Property offences and homicide have been decreasing since the mid 1990s, while violent and drug offences have increased during the period under study. These trends highlight the limits of the explanations to the crime drop in the United States, which are based on the premise of a correlation in the evolution of all offences. The drop in property offences seems related to changes in the socioeconomic situation in Europe as well as to increases in security measures in households, and the reinforcement of private security. The increase in violent offences can be explained by the combination of several factors, including changes in youth’s free time provoked by the development of the Internet, changing demographics, and the rise of episodic heavy alcohol consumption and street gangs.

Keywords

Alcohol consumption Crime drop Crime trends European sourcebook International crime victim survey Internet Police statistics Street gangs Victimisation surveys Western Europe 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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