Official crime figures

On this page:
• Explanatory note >
• Police figures vs British Crime Survey (BCS) >
• Latest annual crime figures (July 2006) >
• Latest quarterly crime figures (January 2007) >
• Annual crime figures (July 2005) >
• Annual crime figures (July 2004) >

• British Crime Survey (October 2000) >
• Violent Crime Overview (January 2006) >

Explanatory note

This page contain excerpts from summaries of the official crime reports published by the UK Home Office. The purpose is to provide an easy reference when comparing media reports on crime to official figures. Elsewhere we've demonstrated that some media (eg BBC News Online) consistently misrepresent the crime figures (usually by headlining cherry-picked "rises" in crime).

For further details of official figures (and the official reports do contain a lot of detail) click on the links below in each section, or visit the Home Office's online index to crime reports.

Police figures Vs British Crime Survey (BCS)

Since 2001/2002, the official crime reports have combined police recorded crime figures with the results of the British Crime Survey (one of the world's largest and most respected crime surveys).

The first of the combined reports, Crime in England and Wales 2001/02, presents these two series of figures as being complementary and of together providing "a better picture of crime than could be obtained from either series alone". It goes on to describe the differences between police and BCS figures:

"Police statistics provide a good measure of trends in well-reported crimes, are an important indicator of police workload, and can be used for local crime pattern analysis. For the crime types it covers, the BCS [British Crime Survey] can provide a better reflection of the true extent of crime because it includes crimes that are not reported to the police. The BCS count also gives a better indication of trends in crime over time because it is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police, and in police recording practices." [From the preface]

Latest annual crime figures (July 2006)

The following is quoted from: Crime in England and Wales 2005/06 [published July 2006]

• Since peaking in 1995, BCS [British Crime Survey-measured] crime has fallen by 44 per cent, representing 8.4 million fewer crimes, with domestic burglary and vehicle crime falling by over a half (59% and 60% respectively) and violent crime falling by 43 per cent during this period. On the recorded crime side, both domestic burglary and theft of and from vehicles have continued to fall over the same period.

• The risk of becoming a victim of crime has fallen from 40 per cent at its peak in 1995 to 23 per cent according to BCS interviews in 2005/06, representing just over six million fewer victims. This remains at the lowest level recorded since the BCS began in 1981.

• Property crime accounts for the majority of both BCS and recorded crime (77 and 73 per cent respectively).

• Violent crime has remained stable according to BCS interviews in 2005/06 compared with 2004/05. Recorded crime statistics show a two per cent increase in violent crime in 2005/06 compared with 2004/05.

• Almost half of the violent crimes recorded by the BCS and of violence against the person offences recorded by the police involved no injury to the victim. The British Crime Survey (BCS) shows that crime is stabilising after long periods of reduction. Police recorded crime shows a one per cent reduction in the number of crimes recorded during 2005/06, following increases after the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) in April 2002.

Latest quarterly crime figures (January 2007)

The following is quoted from: Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly Update to September 2006 [published 25/1/07]

• The risk of being a victim of crime as measured by the British Crime Survey (BCS), at 24 per cent, has increased by one percentage point compared with the year to September 2005 (23%). This is still considerably lower than the peak of 40 per cent recorded by the survey in 1995.

• The number of crimes recorded by the police fell by three per cent for the period July to September 2006 compared with the same quarter a year earlier.

• There was no statistically significant change in BCS violent crime for interviews in year ending to September 2006 compared with the previous year. Recorded violent crime for July to September 2006 showed a one per cent decrease over the same period in 2005.

• BCS vehicle thefts and domestic burglary remained stable compared with interviews in the year to September 2005. In the latest quarter, recorded domestic burglary fell by three per cent, and recorded vehicle crime by four per cent.

• BCS interviews in the 12 months to September 2006 showed an 11 per cent increase in the number of incidents of vandalism. While recorded crime showed a 1 per cent rise in criminal damage.

• In the year to September 2006, there were a provisional 9,728 firearm offences, 14 per cent fewer than the previous year.

• BCS interviews showed that there was no change in the overall measure of levels of perceived anti-social behaviour, however individual strands showed some change. Levels of worry about burglary, car crime and violent crime have remained unchanged.

Annual crime figures (July 2005)

The following is quoted from: Crime in England and Wales 2004/05 [published July 2005]

• Since peaking in 1995, BCS [British Crime Survey-measured] crime has fallen by 44 per cent, representing 8.5 million fewer crimes, with vehicle crime and burglary falling by over a half (both by 57%) and violent crime falling by 43 per cent during this period.

• Violent crime has decreased by 11 per cent according to BCS interviews in 2004/05 compared with 2003/04. Recorded crime statistics show a seven per cent increase in violent crime in 2004/05 compared with 2003/04, although this increase is partly due to the continuing effect of recording changes.

• The risk of becoming a victim of crime has fallen from 40 per cent in 1995 to 24 per cent according to BCS interviews in 2004/05, representing almost six million fewer victims. This is the lowest level recorded since the BCS began in 1981.

• According to the BCS, the proportion of people believing that crime has increased over the past two years, both in their local area (42%) and in the country as a whole (61%), has fallen compared with the previous year.

• Levels of worry about car crime have fallen compared with the previous year, levels of worry about burglary and violent crime have now stabilised after recent falls.

• The overall level of perceived antisocial behaviour has remained stable over the last year. One in six people currently perceive a high level of disorder in their local area (17%).

Annual crime figures (July 2004)

The following is quoted from: Crime in England and Wales 2003/04 [published July 2004]

Police statistics provide a good measure of trends in well-reported crimes, and are an important indicator of police workload. They can also be used for local crime pattern analysis. For the offences it covers, and the victims within its scope, the BCS [British Crime Survey] gives a more complete estimate of crime in England and Wales since it covers both unreported and unrecorded crime and provides more reliable data on trends.

• Since the peak in 1995, BCS crime has fallen by 39 per cent, with vehicle crime and burglary falling by roughly half and violent crime falling by over a third during this period.

• The risk of becoming a victim of crime has fallen from 40 per cent in 1995 to 26 per cent according to BCS interviews in 2003/04, the lowest level recorded since the BCS began in 1981.

• According to the BCS, there has been a fall in the proportion of people believing that crime has increased over the past two years, both in their local area and in the country as a whole, compared with the previous year.

• Levels of worry about the main crime types have fallen compared with the previous year, as has the level of perceived antisocial behaviour. The latter has fallen from 21% to 16%.

British Crime Survey (October 2000)

The following is quoted from: The 2000 British Crime Survey [published October 2000]

• The BCS [British Crime Survey] shows a fall between 1997 and 1999 in nearly all the offences it measures. Burglary fell by 21% and vehicle-related theft by 15%. Robbery increased by 14% and theft from the person by 4%, but neither of these increases was statistically significant.

• Overall there was a 10% fall between 1997 and 1999 in all the crimes the BCS measures. The BCS crime count also fell 15% between 1995 and 1997.

• There was similar 10% fall between 1997 and 1999 in BCS crimes that can be compared to police recorded offences. The estimated fall in comparable police recorded crimes was 5%.

• The greater decrease in BCS crime than in police figures is consistent with the police recording more of the incidents reported to them in 1999 than in 1997.

Violent Crime Overview (January 2006)

The following is quoted from: Violent Crime Overview, Homicide and Gun Crime 2004/2005 [published January 2006]

• Between 1995 and 2004/05 British Crime Survey (BCS) violent crime has fallen by 43 per cent and the composition of violent crime has changed. The decrease is mainly due to large falls in domestic violence (-59%) and acquaintance violence (-54%), while stranger violence has remained relatively stable. In 1995 the largest component of violent crime was acquaintance violence (43%), but in 2004/05 the largest component was stranger violence (35%).

• The change in composition of violent crime between 1995 and 2004/05 has resulted in changes in the nature of violence. For example, a smaller proportion of crimes took place in the home in 2004/05 and a greater proportion took place in the street, compared with 1995.

• Between 1995 and 2004/05 the number of BCS violent crimes where the victim believed the offender(s) to be under the influence of alcohol also dropped, by about a third. In 2004/05 the victim believed the offender(s) to be under the influence of alcohol in almost half of all BCS violent crimes.

• Victims had consumed alcohol prior to the offence in 30 per cent of BCS 2004/05 violent crimes. Neither the victim nor the offender had consumed alcohol in 38 per cent of incidents.

• Young men aged 16 to 24 were most at risk of violence according to 2004/05 BCS interviews: 14.6 per cent had been a victim of violent crime once or more in the last year compared with 3.6 per cent of all adults.

• According to the 2004 Offending Crime and Justice Survey (OCJS), 16 per cent of 10 to 25 year-olds committed a violent offence in the year prior to interview. Of these offences, almost half were committed because the offender was annoyed or upset by someone.

• Forty-one per cent of violent incidents were not considered to be a crime by the victim. In just over half of these cases (23% overall) the victim described the offence as "just something that happens".

• Nearly half of all violent offences captured by the BCS and recorded by the police in 2004/05 involved no injury to the victim, although such crimes may still be very serious in nature and may have a significant impact on the victim.

See also the later supplementary report, Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2005/2006 (published January 2007).



 
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