A Speech on “The History of Global Crime”

Greeting to one and all present here. I am here today to talk about the history of global crime. The earliest known occasion that the gathering of statistics on crime at the international level was considered was at the overall Statistical Congress held in Brussels in 1853. The following known major effort was made at the International Congress on the Prevention and Repression of Crime held in London in 1872.

At these meetings, the matter of comparability of definitions emerged and, until relatively recently, remained a difficulty in subsequent efforts. Also, the rationale for attempting the gathering of such statistics at the international level and of constructing cross-national comparisons with those statistics was a source of the difficulty. The issue of definitions was still a central issue within the conclusions of the International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation (IPPF) in 1946. Soon afterward, the IPPF handed over most of its functions to the newly-formed international organization Organization.

Within the early years of the organization, the world organization paid attention intermittently to the chance of developing the gathering of criminal statistics at the international level. 

The international organization Surveys on Crime Trends and also the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (UN-CTS) were started in 1977, covering different time intervals from 1970. After 1998, the Survey was distributed at two years intervals.

The questionnaire was developed and improved through expert group meetings hosted by the College of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, New Jersey, 1981; the Criminal Justice Center, pol State University, Texas, 1983; the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington DC, US Department of Justice, 1986; world organization Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), 1991; the government of Argentina in the capital of Argentina in 1997 and also the government of Netherlands Veldhoven 1998.

Responding to the mandate of Council resolution 2005/23, an open-ended expert group on ways and means of improving crime data collecting, research, and analysis to enhance the work of UNODC and other relevant international entities met in Vienna in February 2006. Experts made recommendations to revise the questionnaire used for the UN Survey on Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems.

On experts’ recommendations, the questionnaire for the Tenth Survey was revised in a way that maintains continuity with the questionnaires for the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth world organization Surveys of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, which covered the amount 1995-2004. 

Major attention was given to the improvement and clarification of definitions, and the collection of data on context and metadata. Since the Eleventh UN-CTS in 2009, the Survey is run annually while the questionnaire – now presented in Excel format – has been further streamlined to scale back the burden of reporting for the Member States.

Other intergovernmental organizations, like the International Police Organization (INTERPOL), the Council of Europe, and therefore the Organization of Economic Development have made attempts to gather similar statistics but have targeting statistics of recorded crime, instead of of the criminal justice system as an entire. This is a brief history of crime. Thank you.

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