"Crime and Victimization" Background note for the World Development Report 2014: Risk and Opportunity

Type Report
Title "Crime and Victimization" Background note for the World Development Report 2014: Risk and Opportunity
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/16342/WDR14_bn_Crime_and_Violence_Baliki.​pdf?sequence=1
Historically, higher crime rates have been associated with higher inequality and poverty.
Nevertheless, there remains an ambiguity over the most prominent socioeconomic factors that
increase crime rates, and consequently individual victimization. Among the numerous shocks
households face in developing countries, crime and violence continue to be an economic and
social challenge for many communities. Crime imposes high economic costs to the public and
private sectors. It lowers public and foreign investment (high incidence of theft and corruption),
it reduces economic activity (safety of commuting from one location to the other), and it harbors
black markets (weapon trade, drug consumption, etc). Moreover, exposure to violent crime costs
lives, and increases permanent health problems. For example, domestic violence against women
during pregnancy is shown to have adverse risk effects on children’s health (Walsh 2008).
Victimization surveys in developing countries have not attracted researchers and policy makers
until very recently. Apart from the International Crime Victimization Survey (ICVS), there exists
no structured international victimization survey that is representative across all regions. The
UNODC, on the other hand, has funded an ongoing project in order to undertake a consistent
victimization survey worldwide, but data has only been collected for a number of African
countries. More recently, the World Value Surveys (WVS), known for it extended regional
coverage, has included victimization-related questions in the new wave survey of 2010-2012, but
data is not fully and readily available for public use. Therefore, for the purpose of our
presentation, we collect and compile data on victimization and crime rates from various sources,
including the ones mentioned above, and combine questions, where applicable, from different
surveys in order to increase our country representation and be able to present victimization rates
and perceptions worldwide (see Table A. in Appendix for more details on data sources).
Nevertheless, the main source of victimization data will be the ICVS.
In this chapter, our aim is twofold: First, we conduct an assessment on perceptions of public and
private insecurity, as well as on fear of victimization. Second, we provide a robust cross-regional
comparison, where possible, on incidence of crime and evaluate the variability of exposure to
victimization across gender and areas of residence (urban/rural). Moreover, we undertake a
supplementary regional assessment for Latin America and the Caribbean to match perceptions
with actual experience of crime. This assists us in evaluating the magnitude of the gap in
perceived risk of victimization among individuals.

Related studies