About the statistics
Name and topic
Name: Offences reported to the police
Topic: Social conditions, welfare and crime
Division for Social Welfare Statistics
National level, and by county, police district and municipality.
Frequency and timeliness
Annually. Published as soon as possible after the end of the statistical year, normally before the end of the first quarter in the consecutive year.
Raw data files from the Norwegian Police ICT Services (formerly the National Police Computing and Material Service (PDMT)) for the annual files are stored permanently in a secured archive area. Raw data files for half-yearly statistics were only kept until they were replaced by final annual files. Annual files from 2004 are also used for the production of statistics on registered victims, and are also stored under this statistics area. The final processed data material (i.e. the material prepared and used in the statistics production) is stored as separate archive files and documented (in the system DataDok). The annual files that are used for the statistics production are also stored as SAS files, until they are no longer used.
Background and purpose
Based on the statistics on offences reported to the police, Statistics Norway aims to throw light on the registered level of crime from year to year. The statistics are enabled as a result of a changeover from form reporting to electronic reporting from the police’s central criminal case register (BL/STRASAK, BL/STRASAK/PAL as from 2002). The statistics were first published in the Norwegian official statistics (NOS) for the year 1990.
Since 2004, the statistics on offences reported to the police have only been published as annual statistics. Until 2003, half-yearly statistics were also published, and quarterly statistics were published until 1998.
In 2005, the whole time series 1993 to 2002 was revised (see Control and revision under Production). This particular revision could not be carried out for 1992. Therefore, 1993 is now regarded as the first year of Statistics Norway's statistics on offences reported to the police.
Users and applications
Important users are the media, the research and education sector, NGOs, the Ministry of Justice and other government agencies and other agencies in the justice sector. The statistics also serve as a basis for information to anyone else interested in the state and development within the field of crime.
Coherence with other statistics
The statistics on Victims of offences reported to the police are based on the same set of data basis as the statistics on offences reported to the police. As well as being based on the same sample (population), these two sets of statistics are also identical when the unit is offence reported to the police, and can therefore be regarded as two sides of the same type of statistic. The statistics on victims of offences reported to the police are, however, not fully integrated with the statistics on offences reported to the police, or established as regular crime statistics, and the annual releases depend on financing from the Ministry of Justice and the Police.
The statistics on offences reported to the police are one of the four regular principal statistics in the area of Crime and justice . The rest are statistics on Offences investigated , sanctions and imprisonments .
When using crime statistics, it is important to be aware that the various parts do not necessarily refer to the same population of offences within the same year. It can take a long time from an offence is reported to the police to when the investigation is concluded, and until a penal sanction is given and the sentence served; in some cases, it may take years. Generally, however, the offences that are included in the statistics on offences reported to the police in the same year or subsequently are represented in the statistics on offences investigated, sanctions and imprisonments (see the statistics on criminal prosecutions). The units that are included also differ in the various statistics. The tables below offences reported to the police are therefore not directly comparable to the other crime statistics. For an overall presentation of the crime statistics, see Kriminalitet og rettsvesen 2009 (in Norwegian only).
Other closely related statistics from Statistics Norway are: Survey of level of living, victimisation and fear of crime , Statres - Police and prosecution authority , Statistics on causes of death (murder) .
Related external statistics
The National Police Directorate (POD) publishes Kommenterte STRASAK-tall; the police’s report statistics (the individual police districts also publish their own figures for their respective regions). The report contains figures for offences reported to the police, but must be regarded as operations statistics for the police and should not be interpreted as the official crime statistics. The police figures can vary somewhat from Statistics Norway’s figures based on the timing and criteria for extraction, as well as other processing routines. The police’s division into groups of offence (10-tier) corresponds to Statistics Norway’s division, but the type of division is not necessarily the same (see Standard classifications under Definitions).
Kripos publishes an overview of murders, but these statistics are organised based on a different definition of the sample than in Statistics Norway’s statistics on reported offences (including year of crime and no registration). In a number of cases, it is recommended that users use Kripos’ murder statistics. For 2005/2006 and beyond, Statistics Norway has carried out a review and audit of all murder cases (see Collection of data revision and estimation under Production). Subsequent to these audits, the number of murders is approximately the same in the statistics from Kripos and Statistics Norway. Kripos also publishes statistics on drugs, which include figures for the confiscation of drugs. Although confiscation relates to drug offences reported to the police, it is not possible to make direct comparisons between these figures. The different statistics are available from the police's website for strategies and analyses .
The Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research (SIRUS) publishes statistics on various forums, which include figures from Statistics Norway’s statistics on offences reported to the police, primarily in relation to drug offences and driving under the influence (cf. “drunk driving"´). The classification of the offences can, however, differ somewhat from the statistics published by Statistics Norway.
Statistics Act §§ 2-1, 2-2, 3-2 (forms/registers).
The statistics cover all offences that were registered as reported by the police and the prosecution authority in the course of the statistical year.
The statistics provide information on the type and number of offences, police districts and scene of crime. The statistics do not include misdemeanours under the Road Traffic Act and the Customs Act where the sanction is an on the spot fine (see statistics on Sanctions ).
Where the report includes more than one offence, all matters that can constitute a separate point in the charge/indictment are registered. Prior to 1994/1995, several offences could be registered as one offence (see Comparability over time and space).
Data sources and sampling
The data basis is taken from the police’s central registration system, which covers all offences registered by the police districts (as well as special agencies and higher prosecution authorities) in the police’s databases for handling criminal cases (BL). Registrations in the local BL are transferred to STRASAK, from which Statistics Norway received its data basis extract until 2001. From the statistic years 2001/2002, Statistics Norway has received its data basis from the police’s analysis and leadership system (PAL). PAL contains data on all criminal cases after they have been transferred from STRASAK. The data source for the statistics is referred to as the criminal case register BL/STRASAK/PAL, and contains criminal case data that is transferred between these three systems on an ongoing basis.
See Sources of error and uncertainty under Sources of error and Definitions.
Collection of data revision and estimations
The data material is retrieved electronically from the Norwegian Police ICT Services in mid-January. The Norwegian Police ICT Services is responsible for the output of data from PAL (see Data sources and sampling). The police and prosecution authority will make subsequent corrections to this caseload after the end of the year, particularly in recently reported cases received immediately before the end of the year. Changes and structural updates in BL/STRASAK/PAL may also be made at the end of the year. The data basis for Statistics Norway is therefore not extracted until about two weeks after the end of the statistics period.
The police registration systems contain some validity controls of data. In addition, Statistics Norway performs its own controls on some of the material. For example, missing information on scene of crime by municipality will be added to the municipality to the degree this is possible based on other information from the data basis.
Since 2005/2006, all murder cases have been controlled and revised (case by case) against information from Kripos (which at the end of the year has, for statistical purposes, retrieved data on all murder cases from the districts) and other register data from the Norwegian Police ICT Services.
From the statistic year 2011, all of the cases that were settled by the International Police Immigration Service (PU) during the year were deleted (which equates to around 500 offences in 2011). This has led to a relatively large reduction in the category "Special body" in the statistics that distributes the reported offences by police district, and fewer units in "Other crimes". For the previous years with PU-registrations (2005-2010), it was not possible for Statistics Norway to make this deletion of civil cases.
The statistics dating back to 1993 were completely revised in 2005. The reason for deleting cases at that time was that some cases were transferred from one police district to another. In such transfers, the same report had been registered in both police districts, meaning that they were double entries in STRASAK/PAL. The revision was carried out using information registered by the police itself and from the original data basis for the different years of the offences reported to the police. Where an offence had been registered several times, only the first registration was retained (see Comparability over time and space).
An overview of all controls and Statistics Norway's processing routines for the statistics up to the first half of 2002 is available in Notater 2000/13 "Statistikk over anmeldte lovbrudd og registrerte ofre. Dokumentasjon" (in Norwegian only).
Based on the data from the police’s registers, all offences reported to the police are included, with a specification of characteristics such as type of offence and scene of crime. Calculations of percentages and rates per 1 000 inhabitants are made, also for different regions. In the annual statistics, the population as of 1 January in the statistics year is used, and in statistics that use a two-year average, the population on 1 January in the latter of the two statistic years is used (cf. the statistics on population . For more detailed information on concepts, variables and classifications, see Definitions.
The statistics contain personal data and information on punishable offences that is considered to be highly sensitive. Statistics Norway therefore administers the data basis for crime statistics with great caution.
The statistics are primarily published at a higher regional level (in total and the whole country), and when classified at lower levels (county and municipal) the offences are only published in larger categories – e.g. by group of offence.
Marking cells with few units is not normally necessary on account of anonymity (and neither is it normally done in other crime statistics that are published using the same principles). When releasing statistics with few units, the protection of privacy is, however, considered on a case by case basis. In the statistics on offences reported to the police classified by municipality, in addition to a two-year average, a lower limit has been set for the number of units in the release (fewer than 5). The choice of groups and lower level of detail, as well as exclusion by marking categories with few units, is also made based on an assessment of the data quality and the statistics’ suitability for comparison over time and place (see Coherence with other statistics under Background).
Comparability over time and space
There are many factors that can have a bearing on comparability over time and place in the various crime statistics, and a broader explanation of the problem here is given in Kriminalitet og rettsvesen 2009 (in Norwegian only).
Annual statistics on offences reported to the police are, subject to changes in registration practice and mergers of police districts, comparable from 1993 (see Chapter 5). Quarterly figures were published from 1991 to 1999, and half-yearly statistics from 1999 to 2003, in addition to annual statistics. Since 2004, Statistics Norway has only published annual statistics. The revision of all years dating back to 1993 (carried out in 2005, see Offences reported to the police. 1993-2001. Revised figures. ) was only for the annual statistics, and no new tables were created for the police districts (owners) in the years 1993-2001 or for scene of crime (county) in the years 1993-2000.
Many regional standards are very stable over a long period of time, but regroupings of these also occur – which in some cases is a determining factor in the content of the statistics. One example of a directly visible change took place after the reorganisation and 50 % reduction in police districts in 2002. Most of the districts were given a new name and new geographic borders, and it is almost impossible to compare the content in both the data basis and the statistics that are classified according to the old and new geographic areas (see Offences investigated 2002 ). Changes in regional standards that are not directly visible take place when, for instance, a municipality changes over to a different county, when two municipalities merge or when a municipality has population changes that result in a different classification in size of municipality (see Definitions).
The most central changes in the police’s registration system and practice that are of significance to the development of offences reported to the police took place around 1994 and in 2002.
New registration practice from 1994/1995
Where a report includes more than one offence, all matters that can constitute a separate point in the charge/indictment are registered. This has been the practice since 1994/1995. Prior to this, the practice was that only one offence was registered when:
- More than one offence was committed in one act against one victim. The most serious was registered.
- More than one of the same type of offence was committed by the same person within a period of time against one victim.
- One offence was committed against a group of victims.
- The first offence was committed in order to pave the way for the second.
However, more than one offence was registered when an offence was committed with the purpose of hiding another offence, which was also the practice after 1994/1995.
STRASAK has, for a long time, been under development with regard to quality assurance and registration details. This development has led to the data basis for the statistics containing more information than previously. The transition in 1994/1995 to registering all offences is of the greatest significance, and resulted in the number of offences reported to the police increasing in the statistics without this necessarily being related to more offences actually being reported.
Changes to STRASAK in 2002
Towards the end of 2002, the police’s criminal case register, STRASAK, underwent a major change. There are three factors in particular that have a specific bearing on the statistics on offences reported to the police:
1) Merging of police districts; as from 1 January 2002, the former 54 police districts were merged into 27 police districts. This means that the procedure of adding a value for the municipality of crime (see above) can be applied with a fewer number of police districts.
2) Duplicate registrations; In October2002, acentral serial number instead of the previous local serial number was introduced. In the long term, this will ensure that transferred cases will no longer be re-registered in the new police district, and such duplicate registrations (see Collection of data revision and estimations) will be reduced from 2003.
3) Scene of crime abroad; some offences reported to the police are committed abroad, but some are reported inNorway. Prior to 2002, no information on these was available in the material for the crime statistics. These offences were therefore previously included in the statistics and allocated a municipality of crime or county of crime according to the routine described above. As from 2002, it is possible to identify these offences, and they have been retained in the statistics with the scene of crime given as abroad.
As from 2010, Statistics Norway publishes detailed municipality statistics on offences reported to the police (2007-2008). Statistics Norway has also previously published statistics on offences reported to the police in the individual municipalities of crime ( Styrings- og informasjonshjulet 2008 (in Norwegian only). Old (2003-2004 to 2006-2007) and new statistics are relatively similar and relatively comparable for the categories that have the same type of basis and classification. Due to the quality of the data, however, we have decided not to publish new figures for districts for the sample boroughs.
When using statistics at such a level of detail, it must be borne in mind that there may be great variation, particularly for the municipalities and groups of offences with few cases. Data quality and registration method, particularly in major cases, vary and can lead to considerable differences between otherwise identical municipalities – and from year to year. In both the new and old statistics, certain consideration has been given to this type of statistical random variation by creating a two-year average, but only for the largest groups of offences and the municipalities that have more than four units.
Releases from 2005 and onwards use the figure as per 1 January in the statistics year in calculations where population figures are included in the statistics on offences reported to the police (as opposed to previously, when the figure as per 31 December in the statistics year was used). This will be the practice for all statistics released from this point in time, also for previous years.
As from 1 January 2005, Kripos and the PU can register and investigate their own criminal cases. The category “special body" was therefore introduced in the statistics from 2005, classified by police district. This category includes the new district units, together with Økokrim (which has been included in the statistics since 1995).
Changes to legislation that affect the content of the statistics directly and considerably shall, as far as Statistics Norway is aware of such changes, be highlighted in the tables in the years where such changes have taken place – and where this is relevant to corresponding statistics over time. For examples of this, see Offences reported to the police 2006 (for example on the abolition of the Vagrancy Act).
Since the statistics year 2005/2006, all murder cases have been controlled and revised (case by case) against information from Kripos and register data from the Norwegian Police ICT Services (see Collection of data revision and estimations). Some cases have subsequently been changed from “other type of case" to “reported murder", but the opposite has occurred more often. After this revision, the murder figures can therefore be somewhat lower than previous years.
Subject to subsequent changes, more detailed information on both the old and the new data basis, variables and definitions are described in Notater 2000/13 “Statistics on offences reported to the police and registered victims. Documentation” (in Norwegian only). StatisticsNorway has relatively comprehensive documentation of the data basis and the statistics on the individual years, and information on this can be obtained from the contact persons specified for the statistics.
Definitions of the main concepts and variables
Offences reported to the police are defined as: all offences registered by the police and the prosecution authority as reported in the course of the statistical year. The fact that an offence is reported to the police in a specific year does not necessarily mean that the offence was committed in the same year. (93.8 and 93.2 per cent of all offences reported to the police in 2004 and 2005 respectively had a final committed date in 2004 and 2005). Misdemeanours under the Road Traffic Act or Customs Act that are settled by on the spot fines are not regarded as offences reported to the police, and therefore not included in the statistics (see Production).
Offences in crime statistics are defined as acts that are described by law, at any given time, as punishable. BL/STRASAK/PAL contains more than 600 different codes for the classification of offences. Statistics on offences that are published by Statistics Norway are grouped based on two standards: Group of offence and Type of offence (see Standard classifications).
Group of offence is a standard division of all offences into 10 main groups, when applied at its most detailed. Group of offence is an official standard that is used and administered by several departments in the justice sector. In some statistics, the offence category and offence group are combined, whereby the crime groups and misdemeanour groups contain fewer offences and classifications.
Type of offence is mainly in accordance with the chapters and paragraphs of the Penal Code – and also distinguishes between crimes and misdemeanours with special legislation. In Statistics Norway’s crime statistics, type of offence is the most detailed classification of offence, and the most detailed or the less detailed version of the standard is used depending on the scope of the statistical unit. Type of offence classifies all offences according to a standard drawn up by Statistics Norway, and is not used for statistical purposes by other parties to any great extent or in a similarly structured way – even though in some cases there is agreement between Statistics Norway and, for example, the police’s definitions of some types of offences.
Offence category is a division of all offences in crimes and misdemeanours. This is not to be regarded as a separate standard since these are groups that are included in the statistics and the standards for type of offence (see above). This two-tier classification of all punishable acts is stipulated in the current Norwegian penal legislation and this legal distinction is mainly used for statistical purposes and by parties other than Statistics Norway.
A crime is normally a punishable act of a more serious nature than a misdemeanour . Crimes and misdemeanours under the Penal Code are referred to in the second and third part of the act respectively. According to the Penal Code § 2, punishable acts described in other laws are crimes if they carry a sentence of more than three months' imprisonment, unless otherwise decided. Other punishable acts are misdemeanours. Some categories of offences (e.g. criminal damage and some special laws) can, by law, be both a crime and a misdemeanour. If the offence category is not given based on the offence code applied, the police’s registration of offence category is used in the statistics.
A police district is the body ascribed as owner (i.e. which is responsible for the follow-up) of the processing of criminal cases at the point in time Statistics Norway makes an extraction from the data basis. In addition to the 27 police districts (see Standard classifications), the Governor of Svalbard and some central special bodies can also be owners of criminal cases. The National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime in Norway (Økokrim), Kripos and the International Police Immigration Service (PU) can register and have their own cases in the first phase of the processing of a criminal case, and are therefore included in the “special body´´ category in the statistics (from 2005, see Comparability over time and space under Production).
Scene of crime (county, size of municipality, centrality and municipality) is defined based on the municipality or country in which the crime was committed, as stipulated in the police register. If the offence lacks information on the municipality and country in which the crime was committed, the scene of crime (such as municipality, county or Norway/abroad) is added based on other descriptions of the scene of crime (e.g. the police zone).
The following Statistics Norway standards are used:
Offence category (crimes and misdemeanours, see Definitions of the main concepts and variables and Appendix A in NOS Crime Statistics )
Police district (see Definitions of the main concepts and variables and Comparability over time and space under Production. See also Database for standard classifications )
County (scene of crime, see Database for standard classifications )
Municipality (scene of crime, see Database for standard classifications )
Size of municipality is a classification of the municipalities by population (1 January in the statistics year), and in the crime statistics a 7-tier classification is used. This classification has not been formalised as a Statistics Norway standard, but is used by Statistics Norway in various statistics areas.
Centrality (scene of crime, see Database for standard classifications ) is a standard regional classification of the municipalities’ geographic location in relation to communities of different sizes (4-tier). These are further divided into geographic location in relation to the provincial centres (9-tier).
In the crime statistics, both classifications according to the standard are used, i.e. the 4-tier and the more detailed 9-tier. In the 4-tier version of the standard for centrality, all municipalities in Norway are grouped with the central (3), somewhat central (2), less central (1) and least central (0) municipalities. The 9-tier version divides the most central (level 3) into a further three sub-groups, and each of the others (levels 0-2) into two sub-groups:
The provincial centres - i.e. Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, Kristiansand and Tromsø – have the highest level (33, i.e. third sub-group of the most central level 3). The nearest municipalities are classified based on travel time to the centre of a provincial centre. Those within 35 minutes (forOslo45 minutes) have a higher level of centrality (32) than those with 36-75 minutes (forOslo 46-90 minutes) travel time (31). Each of the levels of centrality 0-2 are further classified based on whether the travel time is more or less than 2.5 hours (for Oslo 3 hours) to the centre of the nearest provincial centre.
For the detailed content of this and other regional classifications used in the statistics, see the references to the database for standards.
Sources of error and uncertainty
After undertaking a thorough review of various data basis and crime statistics, and dialogue with the Norwegian Police ICT Services, Statistic Norway believes that the revision that was carried out in 2005 has led to a considerable improvement in the quality of the statistics on offences reported to the police. However, there is some uncertainty in connection with the precision of deleting cases, and whether the revision has led to the deletion of duplicate registrations to the same extent throughout the period.
Offences that lack information on municipality of crime are, by means of internal controls, allocated a municipality of crime to the degree this is possible. Offences are largely investigated in the police district where the act took place. It can therefore be assumed that the offence has been committed in the relevant police district unless there are indications to the contrary. To the degree the police district does not cross one or more municipal or county borders, the offence is deemed to have been committed in this municipality/county. Where the municipality of crime is added using this method, it is considered to be relatively certain. This has been the practice in all previous years of offences reported to the police, but such partial non-response has had increasingly less significance in recent years.
Statistics Norway has no possibility of controlling the non-response of units where there is incomplete registration in individual police districts. Partial non-response (where certain variables are not given for some units) occurs, but with the aid of internal controls in BL/STRASAK these are limited to less important variables.
Statistics on offences reported to the police are based on registrations in the first stage of the legal system’s proceedings. This means that the quality is tested and controlled to a lesser degree, and is thereby more uncertain than in the other parts of the crime statistics (see Coherence with other statistics under Background).
As from 2002, the data basis for the statistics is extracted annually from the same register in the same way and at roughly the same time. Likewise, Statistics Norway’s processing of the data basis should be the same every year. This will eliminate sampling errors. The principles are the same, but practical and technical changes in extraction and processing may be made which could potentially entail adjustments of the content of the sample that is used for statistical purposes.
Definition limitations (see Definitions) can have a bearing on the sample, without this necessarily being regarded as a sampling error. Investigation cases, such as fires, missing person reports and suspicious deaths are also registered in the criminal case register. If one of these cases is not registered with an offence at the time of extraction, the case is not deemed to be a criminal case reported to the police, and is not therefore included in the statistics.
Offences and criminal cases without a registration date in the statistical year at the time the data is taken from the police’s central registration system (normally approx. January 14th), will not be included in the data basis. An offence which at a later point of time is re-registered as an offence with registration date within the statistical year will therefore not be included in either data basis for the statistics on Offences reported to the police (or Victims of offences reported to the police). Albeit, these kinds of re-registered offences will, when settled by the police and prosecution authority, be included in the data basis for the statistics on Offences investigated.
Various tests on different data basis for the time period 2008-2011 indicate that these late-registrations have led to 1-2 per cent of the offences actually reported to the police not being a part of the statistics annual data sample. Statistics Norway has not obtained the data basis for the mapping of this phenomenon before the statistical year 2008. However, from the technical possibilities and knowledge of registration routines in the Police’s central criminal case register (BL), as well as police statistics, Statistics Norway has reasons to presume that the scope of such late-registrations were as many or more in the years prior to 2008.
In 2012 and the years after, there were far fewer late-registrations than in previous years. The annual average in the periode 2012-2014 was about 1 200 offences (1 000 of which were crimes), amounting to only 0.3 per cent of all offences (0.4 per cent of all crimes) in the published statistics. Derived from the average in the time period 2008-2011, there were annually about 7 000 offences (4 800 of which were crimes) subject to late-registration, thus not included in the published statistics.
The scope of such late-registrations is unevenly spread out on different groups of offences and types of offences. Larcenies and other types of offences for profit are rarely subject to late-registration, and this methodological phenomenon therefore does not significantly influence the use of the statistics on these types of offences. For other groups of offences, however, these late-registrations have a bigger impact on the figures, especially when figures from 2011 and before are compared to statistics from later than 2011. For example, the following group of offences were the subject a of significant scope of late-registration: nearly 1 500 more narcotic offences, 1 300 more traffic offences, 500 more offences of violence and 150 more sexual offences compared to the average number of late-registrations in 2012 and 2013. When attempting to characterise the actual development for the number of offences reported to the police during these time periods, one must account for the fact that these statistics up to and including 2011 are "missing" a number of offences in the given magnitude. Even though the change in routines for late-registration has significance for the statistics comparability over time, this phenomenon is not considered to be an actual source of error in this statistic. This is because the criterias which are used draw the data sample for these statistics has been constant for the whole time period.
The crime statistics only include registered crime, i.e. the offences and victims that are identified by or are made known to the police. Police resources and priorities, and people’s tendency to report offences to the police are of great significance to what acts become a part of the crime statistics. An unknown number of offences are never registered. Such unregistered offences are often called dark/missing figures. Different surveys on self-reported crime and exposure to crime indicate that the crime that is not registered is extensive, and will vary according to type of offence (see Survey of level of living conditions ). What crime is registered over time is also affected by changes in legislation and regulations. These phenomenons are, however, not considered as "errors" in the statistics, but elements that affect them. For more details of this, see Kriminalitet og rettsvesen 2009 , kapittel 3 (in Norwegian only).