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United Nations World Crime Surveys: First Survey, 1970-1975 and Second Survey, 1975-1980

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data, and aggregate data
  • Newman, Graeme
  • DiCristina, Bruce
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Collective Title
  • United Nations Surveys of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems Series
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics
Free Keywords
convictions (law); correctional facilities; crime; crime patterns; crime prevention; crime reporting; criminal justice policy; criminal justice system; international crime statistics; nations; offenders; offenses; persecution; trends; United Nations
  • Abstract

    The United Nations began its World Crime Surveys in 1978. The first survey collected statistics on a small range of offenses and on the criminal justice process for the years 1970-1975. The second survey collected data on a wide range of offenses, offenders, and criminal justice process data for the years 1975-1980. Several factors make these two collections difficult to use in combination. Some 25 percent of those countries responding to the first survey did not respond to the second and, similarly, some 30 percent of those responding to the second survey did not respond to the first. In addition, many questions asked in the second survey were not asked in the first survey. This data collection represents the efforts of the investigators to combine, revise, and recheck the data of the first two surveys. The data are divided into two parts. Part 1 comprises all data on offenses and on some criminal justice personnel. Crime data are entered for 1970 through 1980. In most cases 1975 is entered twice, since both surveys collected data for this year. Part 2 includes data on offenders, prosecutions, convictions, and prisons. Data are entered for 1970 through 1980, for every even year.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Data on Offenders and Criminal Justice Personnel
    • DS2: Data on Offenders, Prosecutions, Convictions, and Prisons
Temporal Coverage
  • 1970 / 1980
    Time period: 1970--1980
Geographic Coverage
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • North America
  • Global
Sampled Universe
Member countries of the United Nations.
Collection Mode
  • The documentation for Part 1 indicates a total of 91 cases (countries). The data, however, indicate a total of 101 cases. (countries). These ten additional countries are Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Honduras, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Vanuatu. Similarly, the documentation for Part 2 indicates a total of 91 cases (countries), but there are actually 96. The five additional countries are Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Honduras, and Vanuatu. The original documentation further indicates 30 records per case. Two countries in Part 1, however, fall short of 30 records per case: Algeria and Mauritius. Algeria is missing one record and Mauritius is missing 2 records. For both parts, where substantial discrepancies occurred between the validation data collected through the questionnaire, the questionnaire data were entered, unless they appeared to deviate substantially from the overall pattern of the data. This occurred in only a few instances. The following crime categories could not be made comparable between the first and second surveys: rape, drugs, judges, and totals. The term "rape" was not used in the first survey. Instead, the phrase "sex offenses" was used. In the first survey, the phrase "substance abuse" was used, and the responses broken down into "drugs" and "alcohol." The data recorded for the first survey are for "substance abuse" with alcohol excluded. The nearest equivalent to substance abuse in the second survey was the category "drug crimes." However, the first survey also requested data on "illegal traffic in drugs." This was not requested in the second survey, although the variables are included in this data set, and some data were entered into them from the validation questionnaires. The first survey did not define "judges." Consequently, no distinction was made between professional and lay judges. The data of the second survey report only professional judges. Total crimes was a separate category in both surveys. It does not necessarily equal the sum of the other crime categories collected in the survey. In some developing countries, for example, often the gross total of all crimes was the only information available.

2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 3 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 9571 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR09571.v1
  • Boyle, Elizabeth Heger. Is Law the Rule? Using Political Frames to Explain Cross-National Variation in Legal Activity. Social Forces.78, (4), 1195-1226.2000.
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  • Tsoudis, Olga. Female Criminal Justice Professionals across Time and Place: Analysis of the United Nations Crime Survey Data. Society for the Study of Social Problems. 2000.
  • Li, De. Economic development, social control, and murder rates: A cross-national approach. Cross-Cultural Research.29, (2), 361-382.1995.
    • ID: 10.1177/106939719502900403 (DOI)
  • Harvey, Linda, Burnham, R.W., Kendall, Kathy, Pease, Ken. Gender differences in criminal justice. British Journal of Criminology.32, (2), 208-217.1992.
  • United Nations. Trends in Crime and Criminal Justice, 1970-1985, in the Context of Socio-Economic Change: Results of the Second United Nations Survey of Crime Trends, Operations of Criminal Justice Systems and Crime Prevention Strategies. New York, NY: United Nations. 1992.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Viccica, Antoinette Denise D.. Toward the first world crime survey. LAE Journal of the American Criminal Justice Association.42, (1-2), 7-20.1979.

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Newman, Graeme; DiCristina, Bruce (1991): United Nations World Crime Surveys: First Survey, 1970-1975 and Second Survey, 1975-1980. Archival Version. United Nations Surveys of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems Series. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.