International crime victims surveys

The International Crime Victimisation Survey (ICVS) is a far-reaching programme of fully standardised sample surveys looking at householders' experience of crime in different countries. The first ICVS took place in 1989, the second in 1992, the third in 1996 and the fourth in 2000. Surveys have been carried out in 24 industrialised countries since 1989, and in 46 cities in developing countries and countries in transition. Apart from providing an alternative source of data on crime trends, the ICVS offers internationally standardised indicators for the perception and fear of crime across different socioeconomic contexts and over time. It includes the study of corruption, both an objective count of street level corruption” and of the perception of corruption by the general population. Major variable categories include: Car theft, Theft from car, Car vandalism, Theft of motorcycle/moped, Bicycle theft, Burglary, Attempt at burglary, Theft from grages/sheds/lockups, Robbery, Theft of personal property, Sexual offences, Assaults and threats, Consumer fraud, Corruption, Last crime over last five years, Police/prevention/punishment, prevention, Opinions and attitudes, Demographic variables, Why report/no report/no satisfaction

Series title
International crime victims surveys (ICVS)
Data creator

United Nations. Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)

Turin, Italy: United Nations. Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)
Geographic coverage

(National surveys file) England & Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Finland, Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, Catalonia, USA, Canada, Australia, Poland

Time period

A sample of between 1000 and 2000 households was drawn by random dialing of telephone numbers. Non relevant contacts (like companies) were ignored. Within a household, there was a random selection of a household member aged over 16. In case of a refusal, this household member was not replaced. The process continues until the agreed amount of completed interviews were reached. An exeption to this procedure is Finland, a random selection of individual were drawn from the population register. Also an exeption was Northern Ireland and some rural parts of Spain (1989), since telephone penatration was low the interviews were taken face to face, but also computer assisted. The survey in Japan was also face to face.


Technical aspects of the surveys in many countries were co-ordinated by a Dutch company, Interview-NSS, who sub-contracted fieldwork to local survey companies. The NSCR and Leiden University managed survey results.

Mode of data collecton

CATI and face-to face interviews

Unit of observation

Downloaded from UNICRI ICVS Data/Publications, 2006/10/17

Funding agency

Each participating country paid for its own fieldwork. The Dutch Ministry of Justice also provided financial assistance for overheads


Alvazzi del Frate, Anna, Van Kesteren, J.N. Criminal Victimisation in Urban Europe. Key findings of the 2000 International Crime Victims Survey. Turin, UNICRI, 2004

Van Kesteren, J.N., Mayhew, P. & Nieuwbeerta, P. Criminal Victimisation in Seventeen Industrialised Countries: Key-findings from the 2000 International Crime Victims Survey. The Hague, Ministry of Justice, WODC, 2000


International crime victims surveys, 2000: national surveys file [computer file]. Turin: United Nations. Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) [producer and distributor], 2003

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