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Crime and Criminal Justice Systems in Europe and North America, 1990-1994

NCJ Number
K Kangaspunta, M Joutsen, N Ollus
Date Published
439 pages
This volume presents findings of the Fifth United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operation of Criminal Justice Systems for 1990-1994 and discusses the crime situation in Europe and North America, determinants of crime, criminal justice system operations, and sentencing.
The report also includes information from other sources, particularly the International Crime Survey. The authors note possible problems in international comparisons of statistics and that using official statistics and the existing survey data tends to focus attention on traditional crime rather than areas such as organized crime and drug trafficking. The analysis indicates that crime indicators based on a combination of public surveys and police statistics are related to criminologically relevant economic and social indicators. Findings suggested the usefulness of an interactionist model in which crime rates result from a dynamic interplay between motivational and opportunity factors at the macro level. The United States, Canada, and the Czech Republic were among the highest in burglary, motor vehicle theft, and petty crimes. The United States stood out with a high score on serious violence, which contrasted with much lower levels in Canada and Western Europe. The levels of violence against women tended to be highest in the countries of the former Soviet Union; levels were high in the United States, Canada, and several Northern European countries as well. Findings also indicated large international variations in the numbers of police, prosecutors, judges, and prison personnel per 100,000 population. Countries differed substantially in the use of imprisonment. The length of sentences of imprisonment seemed to be the main factor in explaining the rate of incarceration. Tables, figures, footnotes, appended background information and additional results, and 100 references