International Crime Victimization Survey (ICVS) Series

Investigator(s): ICVS International Working Group, Anna Alvazzi del Frate, Jan J.M. van Dijk, John van Kesteren, Pat Mayhew, and Ugi Svekic

The International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS) series was developed by the ICVS international working group. Overall funding was provided by the Ministry of Justice of the Netherlands. The project was set up to fill the gap in adequate recording of offenses by the police for purposes of comparing crime rates in different nations and to provide a crime index independent of police statistics as an alternative standardized measure. The ICVS is the most far-reaching program of standardized sample surveys to look at a householders' experience with crime, policing, crime prevention, and feelings of insecurity in a large number of nations. It also allows for analysis of how risks of crime vary among different groups of populations across social and demographic lines. The first wave, developed by a working group set up in 1987, led to fieldwork in early 1989. The second ICVS wave took place in 1992. Participants in the first ICVS and a number of other nations were invited to participate in the second round in 1992 in order to enlarge the scope of comparisons by increasing the number of industrialized nations, in particular to provide East European nations with the opportunity of improving their understanding of problems of crime and law enforcement, and to implement some improvements in the methodology of the survey. The project was expanded to 13 developing nations and six nations in transition, although the surveys were restricted to the capital cities in most of these. The main purpose was to sensitize local governments to the dimensions and extent of crime in their urban areas. It was also felt that the collection of credible data about criminal victimization in developing nations, which had been previously unavailable, would give a boost to comparative criminology research and theory. The third wave occurred in 1996-1997 and involved 12 industrialized nations, all but one of which were in central and east Europe, and 15 developing nations. The survey also made limited use of some independent national and local surveys. The fourth wave was administered in 2000 in 47 countries.