Comparing International Crime Data

Differences in:

Definitions of crimes

Classification of crimes

Methods of reporting and recording

Victim reporting behavior-how does or could a high level of police brutality and abuse, and also government corruption, impact victim reporting?

Culture and history

Opportunities for specific types of crimes

No bank robberies, no auto thefts, no burglaries, etc. in Sanapu above. Why?

Loss of cultural traditions-males lost purpose-resulting in high rate of alcoholism,

robberies, burglaries and murders.

Papua National Constabulary-Papua New Guinea

Organizational pressures


Organizational Priorities and Responses*

Political Systems*

Can you find articles about problems with crime data/reporting in the United States? Why do these problems occur here?

Explanations of differences not addressed in text:

Higher Bicycle theft reporting in Belgium vs. U.S.- (More people use bicycles as mode of transportation)

Community vs. criminal justices responses to offenders
(ability to resolve victimization outside of the CJ system)

Most uniformity and least problems comparing Auto theft and Homicide statistics

Greater use of Crime Victimization Surveys to address the problem of under-reporting or differences in reporting behavior by citizens

International Crime Victimization Survey Data

United Nations Crime Survey (interesting comparison tool)

Differences in feeling of safety by residents in particular cities not necessary reflection of differences in actual crime
(Does news media have an impact?)

Other Issues

Do statistics primarily reflect criminal activity of a country's residents?

Country statistics/crime rates do not address regional differences

Danger in assuming factors contributing to crime through international comparisons

Crime data from some contiguously situated European countries changed after 1990 due to newly opened borders (to the east), i.e the main contributing factor was not within but outside some of the countries with a rapidly rising crime rate.

Theories to explain crime differences internationally:

Modernization Theory-changes in family, kinship and supervision of young

Civilization Theory-civility vs. barbarianism

World Systems Theory-Distribution of wealth/resources, class conflict

Opportunity Theory-no bank robberies without banks


Transnational Crime


Drug Trafficking

Financial Crimes

Money Laundering

Drug Trafficking-activity of some govts & private organizations

Transnational Organized Crime

Drug trafficking Organizations

North Korean Drug Trafficking Could Be Funding Military Operations

Visit the official website of the North Korean Government

North Korean Officials and Organized Crime

North Korea Trains Computer Hackers

Taliban involvement in Drug Trafficking (2001)

Afghan poppy industry eludes U.S. control

Difficulties combating Drug Traffickers:

Drug trafficking Organizations:

1. Pay off corrupt government officials

2. Can easily purchase and have the latest technology

3. Have financial resources exceeding those of entire governments (not all)

4. Network with other criminal organizations, including those engaged in terrorism

5. Can respond quickly to challenges without BUREAUCRACY to impede their progress

Activities also encompass

Financial Crimes

Money Laundering


"There is no universally accepted definition of international terrorism. One definition widely used in U.S. government circles, and incorporated into law, defines international terrorism as terrorism involving the citizens or property of more than one country. Terrorism is broadly defined as politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub national groups or clandestine agents. For example, kidnapping of U.S. bird watchers or bombing of U.S.-owned oil pipelines by leftist guerrillas in Colombia would qualify as international terrorism.

A terrorist group is defined as a group which
practices or which has significant subgroups which practice terrorism (22 U.S. C. 2656f). One shortfall of this traditional definition is its focus on groups and its exclusion of individual (“lone wolf”) terrorist activity which has recently risen in frequency and visibility.

To these standard definitions which refer to violence in a traditional form must be added cyber terrorism. Analysts warn that terrorist acts will now include more sophisticated forms of destruction and extortion such as disabling a national computer infrastructure or penetrating vital commercial computer systems. Finally, the October 12, 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, a U.S. military vessel, raised issues of whether the standard definition
would categorize this attack as terrorist, as the Cole may not qualify as a “non-combatant”

(see CRS Report RS20721, Terrorist Attack on the U.S.S. Cole). Though the definition of terrorism may appear essentially a political issue, it can carry significant legal implications. Current definitions of terrorism mostly share one common element: politically motivated behavior; although religious motivation is increasingly being recognized as an important motivating factor as high-profile activities of such groups as Al Qaeda and Hamas underscore the significance of selective religious ideologies in driving terrorist violence, or
at least providing a pretext. To illustrate: Osama bin Laden issued a fatwah (edict) in 1998 proclaiming in effect that all those who believe in Allah and his prophet Muhammad must kill Americans wherever they find them [].

Moreover, the growth of international and transnational criminal organizations and the growing range and scale of such operations has resulted in a potential for widespread criminal violence with financial profit as the driving motivation. Notwithstanding, current definitions of terrorism do not include using violence for financial profit, not even in cases where mass casualties might result with entire populations “terrorized.”
Complicating matters is that internationally, nations and organizations historically have been unable to agree on a definition of terrorism, since one person’s terrorist is often another person’s freedom fighter. To circumvent this political constraint, countries have taken the approach of enacting laws or negotiating conventions, which criminalize specific acts such as kidnapping, detonating bombs or hijacking airplanes. The 1999 International Convention
for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism [
] comes close to a consensus definition, by making it a crime to collect or provide funds with the intent of killing or injuring civilians where the purpose is to intimidate a population or coerce a government."

SOURCE: Terrorism and National Security: Issues and Trends
Updated July 6, 2004 Raphael Perl
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Posted at web site of Congressional Research Service and Library of Congress

Country Reports on Terrorism 2006

Terrorism in South Asia-Report for Congress

Terrorist and Suicide Attacks-Report for Congress

Similarities in responses by various countries:

New Laws-

Australia has toughended citizenship rules

UK sets out new anti-terror list

Authority of law enforcement/intelligence agencies

Asylum process

Entry & residence requirements for foreigners (U.S. Visa Policy)

Creation of new databases and linking of existing ones

Review the status and use of DNA databases in the US and world-wide at:

Creation of new agencies


Restructuring of law enforcement/intelligence agencies

Increasing security measures

Private Sector Initiatives

Utilization of resources shifted to activities related to war on terrorism

International Organizations

Interpol Member Countries

Interpol-The Organization



European Court of Justice

European Court of Human Rights

International Court of Justice (United Nations Body)

European Court of Justice (for 27 member states of the European Union)
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.


EU map

Additional country information at:


There are three official candidate countries: Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey

The following countries are potential candidates for membership: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia

It is the responsibility of the Court of Justice to ensure that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaties establishing the European Communities and of the provisions laid down by the competent Community institutions. To enable it to carry out that task, the Court has wide jurisdiction to hear various types of action. The Court has competence, inter alia, to rule on applications for annulment or actions for failure to act brought by a Member State or an institution, actions against Member States for failure to fulfil obligations, references for a preliminary ruling and appeals against decisions of the Court of First Instance.

The European Court of Justice

1. Requests for a preliminary ruling
2. Proceedings for failure to fulfil an obligation
3. Proceedings for annulment
4. Proceedings for failure to act

European Court of Human Rights (for 45 countries of Council of Europe)

European Court of Human Rights sample case

List of cases/decisions from 1999

International Court of Justice (United Nations Body)

International Court of Justice

The Perfect European


The Patriot Act

QUESTION: Is there a loss of individual freedoms?

Important Concepts/Information:

Areas in which comparative studies increase understanding

Reasons for growing interdependence of countries around the world

Barriers to cooperation between countries

Differences between countries that can make a comparison of crime rates difficult

Five global crime problems affecting nearly all countries

Types of responses to global crime problems by various countries

Types of International Courts

Madrassas represent a growing threat through their radicalization of Muslim youth

Private Sector responses to transnational crime and terrorism are being more sophisticated

Piracy problems are most acute in SE Asia, particularly around Indonesia, and near Nigeria

Police ability to take DNA samples is least restricted in the UK and France

The establishment of a central DNA database for multiple countries is under way in Europe