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Comparability

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Population and Education, Social Statistics
Iben Birgitte Pedersen
+45 3917 3603

ipe@dst.dk

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Reported Criminal Offences

The statistics have been prepared on the same basis since 1990. Due to changes in the grouping of the criminal offences and changes in the 'clear-up-concept' caution should be shown by comparing figures over time before this year.

Eurostat collects annual data from the member states on reported criminal offences and publishes statistics based on this. However, according to the Eurostat metadata, the range of items included in the different groups of crime differs between countries and comparisons based upon absolute figures are therefore misleading.

Comparability - geographical

Eurostat collects annual data from the member states on reported criminal offences and publishes statistics based on this. However, according to the Eurostat metadata, the range of items included in the different groups of crime differs between countries and comparisons based upon absolute figures are therefore misleading.

Comparability over time

The statistics have been prepared on the same basis since 1990. In general the statistics is therefore comparable since that. Due to the introduction of the new penal code in 1933, it has only been possible to make comparisons with earlier estimations (back to 1921) at group level, e.g. the groups of Sexual offences, Crimes of violence, Offences against property and Other (penal code) offences.

The definition of violent crime was changed in 1979. Violent crime is henceforward only to include acts which are intentional physical attacks or threats, while other types of violent crime should be included in the category 'Other crimes'. The change resulted in a decrease in the number of violent crimes of approximately 800 and a corresponding increase in the number of 'Other crimes'.

In 1981, the classification of the groups Sexual offences and Other crimes was changed.

As a consequence of law amendments or wishes for more information on specific kind of offences the division of type of offences has been altered during the years. An overview of new and ceases type of offences can be found in this annex (in danish): Development type of offences.

Among major changes are: In 1986, offences against public decency was divided into a number of more specific types of offences. In 1989, amendments to the penal code took effect which concerned the crimes of violence especially in respect of sections 244-246. This caused a break in the statistics which it is difficult to assess the extent of. Lack of registration of vehicle and offences against departmental order regarding registration of vehicles were until 2012 classed with the Road Traffic Act. Hereafter with the Tax Act. It caused an increase of 2,-4,000 annual reported criminal offences. Section 265 regarding restraining order in the Penal Code is replaced by the law on expulsion, restraining order and ban on stay in 2012.

The provisions of the Danish Criminal Code regarding sexual offences went through essential amendments taking effect from 1 July 2013. The amendments resulted in e.g. more categories of sexual offences than previously being placed under the provisions about rape (section 216). See more: Rape

The year 1979 also saw the introduction of a new concept of clear-up, as the statistics replaced a subsequent 'charges raised' with a preliminary 'charges raised', but kept the term 'cleared up reported crime' for the new condition. The reported crimes and their charges were now connected directly, so henceforward there can only be a single charge for each reported crime. The changes implied a lower clear-up rate.

Since 1 January 1990, the reports have been issued by the Central Register of Reported Offences. Furthermore, a new bicycle register was set up in mid-1990, which has meant an increase in the number of thefts of bicycles with charges. From 1990, cases in which the crime was committed by a minor (under 15 years of age) have also been included, even though it is in principle not possible to raise charges against a minor. This and the theft of bicycles resulted in an increase of about 1.5 per cent in the number of reported offences with charges from 1989 to 1990. From 1993, the annual extract was extended to include charges from the first weeks in the following year, to ensure that most of the charges relating to the reported offences would be included in the statistics. Since the autumn 1999, the statistics on reported criminal offences have stopped using the term 'clear-up'. Instead, the statistics now use the term 'charges'. The background for the change was the above-mentioned change in 1979 of 'the clear-up concept'. Until 1979, the clear-up of a case meant that a charge had been brought, that the public prosecutor had drafted an indictment and that the police investigation had ended/finished. After 1979, the term of 'clear-up' only implied that a charge had been raised (a suspect has been found), i.e. that there was no charge in the form of an 'indictment', and the police investigation could be far from finished. The term 'reported criminal offence with charge' was therefore introduced as the term which best described the actual situation.

On January 1, 2018, the special burglary-section 276a was introduced into the Criminal Code. The new section meant that the removal of things from a foreign house was now also termed burglary, only the presence in the house had been unjustified. It was therefore no longer a condition for the presence to be obtained by force for example by breaking up windows or doors. In practice, it meant that a large number of reported crimes that were previously theft were now categorized as burglaries.

Coherence - cross domain

The statistics on reported criminal offences are also published quarterly. On account of its function as an administrative register, the reported criminal offence register is continuously updated and there will consequently be some variation in the number of annually reported criminal offences depending on whether the figure is computed as the sum of the quarterly extracts or the annual extract. The annual statistics exceeded the sum of the four quarters by 5.4 per cent in 2019.

Besides Statistics Denmark, the statistics on reported criminal offences are also published by the National Commissioner of the Danish Police. There could be small differences in the figures, because Statistics Denmark excludes, e.g., administrative information, which cannot be defined as real 'reported criminal offences'.

Statistics Denmark and the Danish Police calculate the charge percentage differently. Statistics Denmark calculates the charge percentage as the share of reports in a given year that has resulted in one or more charges being pressed. The Danish Police takes a production approach to the calculation of the charge percentage as the ratio between the reports of criminal offences for the year and the charges pressed for the year. In addition, if a report has resulted in more than one charge, this counts as several charges in the calculation by the Danish Police, whereas it only counts as one report including charge in the calculation method applied by Statistics Denmark.

Coherence - internal

Data are internally consistent.