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First-generation immigrant judgements of offence seriousness: evidence from the crime survey for England and Wales


This exploratory paper delves into differences and similarities in the rated seriousness of offences suffered by victims of different national origins. The issue is important because a mismatch between police and victim assessments of seriousness is likely to fuel discord. It was found that first-generation immigrants did not differ in their rating of the seriousness of offences against the person from either the indigenous population or according to region of birth. However, those of Asian origin rated vehicle and property crime they had suffered as more serious than did other groups about crimes they suffered. The anticipated higher seriousness rating of offences reported to the police was observed for all groups. People of Asian origin reported to the police a smaller proportion of offences they rated trivial than did people in other groups. Analysis of seriousness judgements in victimization surveys represents a much-underused resource for understanding the nexus between public perceptions and criminal justice responses.

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  1. Gender, age, race, influence of alcohol, influence of drugs, possession of a weapon, affiliation to a gang.

  2. Vehicle parts, money/wallet/purse/credit card, mobile phone, jewellery, clothes, documents, electrical goods, computer, CDs/games, house keys, car keys, tools, bicycle/parts, garden furniture, bins, bag/briefcase, purse/wallet, cash, cigarettes/food.

  3. Vehicle, valuables, electrical goods, speakers, mobile phone, tools, bicycle/parts, camera, CDs/games, household items, house keys, car keys, exterior fittings, garden furniture.

  4. Minor bruising/black eye, severe bruising, scratches, cuts, broken bones, broken nose, chipped teeth, concussion/loss of consciousness, facial/head injuries.


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This paper is associated with a British Academy grant SG151882.

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Correspondence to Dainis Ignatans.

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Los, G., Ignatans, D. & Pease, K. First-generation immigrant judgements of offence seriousness: evidence from the crime survey for England and Wales. Crime Prev Community Saf 19, 151–161 (2017).

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  • Immigration
  • Evidence-based policing
  • Crime seriousness
  • Harm
  • Victimization
  • CSEW