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ESRA 2023 Preliminary Glance Program

All time references are in CEST

Measuring crime in times of change: survey developments and challenges 2

Session Organisers Dr Billy Gazard (Office for National Statistics)
Ms Catherine Grant (Office for National Statistics)
TimeThursday 20 July, 14:00 - 15:30
Room U6-11

Measuring crime in times of change: survey developments and challenges

Decision makers in politics and policing rely on survey studies for reliable trend data on crimes against populations at a national and local level as not all crimes are reported to the authorities. While the complex nature of classifying crimes has meant many crime surveys have relied on face-to-face surveying, disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a number of challenges to long standing survey designs and data collection methods. This has resulted in a number of developments in crime survey measurement, such as transformation of sample designs and exploration of alternative data collection modes, including online methods. However, crime surveys face a number of unique challenges in transformation, such as how to respond to the evolving nature of crime and respondent safety and well-being in answering questions on sensitive crimes.

This session will explore innovative approaches to crime survey measurement, including how survey methods and key measures of crime have been adjusted or developed following changes in society and in individuals’ experience of crime, as well as papers discussing experiments or pilot studies on any of the following topics:

• Changes to crime survey design, including multi-mode and online survey design experiments,
• Changes to sample design, including “push to web” experiments
• Discussion of differences in mode impact at different points in data collection, including sample bias, respondent safety and barriers to inclusion
• Measurement of new and emerging crime types and violence against women and girls

Keywords: crime, victimisation, survey design

From telephone to web in the Swedish Crime Survey

Mrs Sanna Wallin (The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention) - Presenting Author

The Swedish Crime Survey (SCS) is a survey about exposure to crime, fear of crime, confidence in the criminal justice system, and crime victims' contact with the criminal justice system.
The SCS has been conducted since 2006 and is based on a nationally representative stratified simple random sample of people aged between 16 and 84. Since 2017 the survey has included a sample of 200,000 people while in the SCS for 2007–2016 had a sample size of 20,000. The method for the SCS was revised in 2017, whereby the collection procedure was changed from mainly telephone interviews to web questionnaires and postal questionnaires. The sample population was also expanded in terms of age and some of the questions were reformulated and new questions were added. Since one main purpose of the SCS is to be able to make comparisons over time, a method has been developed to enable the results for the period 2007–2016 to be compared with 2017–2022. Every effort has been made to ensure that all the descriptions of development over time are unaffected by the change in method. It is important to emphasize this as the purpose of the survey is to study development over time and compare different groups in the population, rather than to estimate exact levels.
In SCS 2022, almost 65 000 people participated in the survey. Young people have been oversampled, and are thus overrepresented in the survey sample. When analyzing the material, cases are weighted both to account for this over-representation and also to adjust for differences in levels of non-response among different groups within the sample.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey: how a face to face survey adapted to the pandemic and changing demands for crime information

Dr Mark Bell (Scottish Government) - Presenting Author
Dr Jocelyn Hickey (Scottish Government)
Mr Robert Cook (Scottish Government)

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) is the established source of information on people’s experiences and perceptions of crime, policing and the justice system in Scotland; based on around 5,500 interviews with adults aged 16+ in private households.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all Scottish Government face-to-face interviewing was suspended in March 2020. This decision opened up an evidence gap on the extent and prevalence of crime in Scotland during the pandemic, with particular challenges for assessing crimes not reported to the police, where other sources cannot provide an alternative. We developed The Scottish Victimisation Telephone Survey (SVTS) in autumn 2020, using telephone-based interviews, on the population’s experience of crime and feelings of safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This survey differed from the SCJS in a number of ways and is therefore not directly comparable. This was published in February 2021.
Interviews for the SCJS restarted in November 2021. It started with a ‘knock-to-nudge’ approach (interviewer knocks on their door to arrange a phone interview) and then resumed in-home face-to-face interviewing when it was considered safe, with respondents given the option of a phone interview. The final report, we will examine the potential impact that the mixed-mode approach taken may have had on the comparability of these results to the existing SCJS time-series. It is anticipated that findings from the 2021/22 SCJS will be published in autumn 2023.
Looking to future, we’re engaged in a programme of work to ensure the survey continues to keep pace with crime and legislation, reflects victim's experiences of crime in Scotland. This includes estimating the volume of Fraud and computer misuse and improving how we collect information on violence against women and girls.

How can 1.2 million survey responses be analysed to support operational policing?

Mr Kjell Elefalk (ToM) - Presenting Author

The Local Safety Measurement System was introduced in The Swedish Police late 1990`s. By 2022, more than 1.2 million respondents have responded to police surveys since 1998 in most of the Swedish Local Governments. 2000 municipalities, divided into 5000 geographical parts. have been surveyed when each occasion counts over the years. The Police have conducted most of the studies. Data has been collected with the same questions, sequencing, data collection methods, and where the only changes have been a couple of new questions, when introduced, they are always placed last in the survey.
The respondent responses are simply intelligence of problems obtained by the best experts – the individuals who spend daily time in their neighborhoods. The results were compared nationally via percentages to obtain a relative assessment of severity.
In 2022, it was decided to move to an innovative model of what was good, less good and what was a directly bad percentage for an indicator in a residential area. In addition, it is possible to use as summary of the assessments on each indicator to an overall assessment of the severity of the current problem picture in a national context.
Each indicator in the model consists of seven problem levels 0 – 6. Problem level 2 is the model's starting point and be extra broad as a "normal value for Sweden". An attempt to become almost certain that the value does not deviate negatively or positively from other municipalities.
The length of the intervals is determined for problem levels 0 – 6 by using the average values of the confidence intervals of the indicators using the normal 360 observations.
This is a unique story about analysis using algorithms, The Clopper Pearson interval, confidence interval, forecasting science and police experience. For the safety and best interests of the residents.