U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Crime Trends in Western Germany - The Use and Usefulness of Crime Statistics for Criminal Policy (From Youth Crime, Social Control and Prevention, P 176-209, 1984, M Brusten et al, ed. - See NCJ-97757)

NCJ Number
M Brusten
Date Published
34 pages
This paper uses the judiciary's sentencing and conviction statistics and police criminal statistics to analyze crime trends in West Germany and to highlight trends in sentencing.
Changes in reporting procedures that impair reports on crime trends are identified: for example, after 1963, traffic offenses were not recorded in police criminal statistics. A 34-percent increase in crimes committed in 1955 to 1962 is reported, as is a decline in the clearance rate from over 70 percent to about 45 percent. Trends in major crimes are described: theft, for example, accounts for two-thirds of all criminal acts. Special characteristics of crime in criminal statistics -for example, children commit many offenses -- are noted. Additionally, such petty crimes as shoplifting and property damage are analyzed. Crime trends and convictions with regard to age and sex of offenders are delineated: most crimes are committed by adult males who are convicted at a greater rate than female perpetrators. Comparison of police and judicial statistics reveals that many more persons are registered as suspects than are adjudicated; reasons for this 'shrinkage,' including formal institutional procedures, are discussed. Trends in sentencing are also identified: for example, most convicted offenders are fined. An increase in probation is also reported; in 1982, for instance, an average of about 65.1 percent of all prison sentences were suspended on probation. Finally, an international standardization of crime statistics is urged. Eleven tables, four graphs, and 32 references are included.