About the statistics
Name and topic
Name: Victims of offences reported to the police
Topic: Social conditions, welfare and crime
Division for Income and social welfare 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 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 Population under Production). Cases reported to and investigated and completed by the Norwegian Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs are not included in the data basis for the statistics on victims of offences reported to the police (see Coherence with other statistics under Production).
Offences in crime statistics are defined as acts that are described by law, at any given time, as punishable. BL/STRASAK/PAL contain 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 also 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.
Type of victim: All offences reported to the police are classified in the statistics according to the Type of victim registered in the case. All persons or other legal entities that are subjected to and registered as the victim of one or more offences are regarded as victims. An offence can either have a person, another legal entity (normally an enterprise) or have no victim - either because no party has been directly aggrieved (e.g. in some traffic or narcotic offences), or the victim registration is insufficient. In some cases, several victims are registered in the same case , which means that more than one was the victim of the same offence (despite registration principles of offences dictating that each victim should be registered as subjected to one separate offence). In such cases, all victims are kept and included in the tables on victims. If both persons and enterprises are victims in the same case and of the same offence, the person is chosen in preference to the enterprise in the classification of the type of victim.
A person (victim) is identified based on different information about him/her – e.g. date of birth, personal ID number, sex and name (as opposed to other legal entities, which are identified by organisation number and name). Where there is insufficient information on a person or enterprise/organisation, the victim is categorised as a person if a minimum of personal information is registered.
In some cases, a person is subjected to more than one offence (see tables in publication), and thereby registered as a victim more than once in the same statistical year. Tables on victims (persons) show the number of different persons that have been registered as a victim within the statistical year. In other words, one person counts only once as a victim during a statistical year . This also applies to persons without a personal ID number, provided they can be identified as the same person by means of date of birth, name, sex, place of residence and/or citizenship.
In tables on victims (persons), persons registered as a victim of more than one offence during the statistical year will be grouped by principal offence - which is the offence that according to the law can have the most severe penalty.
The tables on victims (persons) of violent crime include everyone who is registered with at least one offence in this group of offence. In other words, tables show all persons who have been subjected to at least one case of violence or threats, and how many of this type of attack they are registered with during the year. These tables do not therefore indicate whether victims have also been exposed to other types of offences and/or if they have a principal offence in another group of offence. This also applies to tables on all victims (persons) of offences for profit .
Age is calculated based on date of birth and the date the offence was committed (the former is used first, and the latter is used if the former is not available). If information about the date the offence was committed is missing, the age is calculated by the date the offence was registered as reported to the police. Several legal provisions on the sexual abuse of children, unlike most other penal provisions in Norway, are specified with the age of the victim. In these cases, Statistics Norway has specified the age as unknown when register information requires a higher age than in the legal provision. With the exception of cases where dates are logically wrong (e.g. where the date of birth is after the date the offence was committed, or the age is too high), data from the register is used to calculate the age without further controls or revisions.
Place of residence (county, size of municipality and centrality) is defined based on the victim’s place of residence in the Central Population Register at the beginning of the year. If the person can only be identified in the register at the end of the year, this is the information that is used. For all persons who cannot be identified in the Central Population Register (by means of date of birth, personal ID number or name), information about citizenship, municipality of residence and postal country registered by the police is used.
Scene of crime (county) 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).
Exposure in municipality of residence entails a place of residence and scene of crime being registered with a valid municipality value, and the municipality of residence and the municipality of crime being identical. Where the municipality of residence is given, and the scene of crime is not registered as being in the same municipality, this will be classified in the statistics as exposure outside the municipality of residence . For places of residence abroad, unspecified or other invalid municipality of residence, no value is added for exposure in or outside the municipality of residence (remains unspecified). The statistics on exposure in or outside a municipality of residence may (partly due to the addition of place of residence, see above) be affected by relocation activity during the period between the point in time for the registered place of residence (normally the turn of the year) and the point in time that the offence is registered as being committed. Systematic differences between registered place of residence and actual address of residence can also arise.
The following Statistics Norway standards are used:
Offence category (crimes and misdemeanours, see Appendix A in NOS Crime Statistics )
Group of offence (see NOS Crime Statistics with a list of all laws and paragraphs, and a list of all offence codes in Section 9.3 in Thorsen and Haslund 2008 )
Type of offence (see Appendix A in NOS Crime Statistics , with a list of all laws and paragraphs, and a list of all offence codes in Section 9.3 in Thorsen and Haslund 2008 )
Age (ten-year and one-year)
Police district (27 police districts, as the owner district, the Governor of Svalbard and special bodies are also included.)
County (scene of crime and place of residence).
Size of municipality (scene of crime and place of residence) is a classification of the municipalities by population, and in the crime statistics a 7-tier classification is used.
Centrality (place of residence) 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 centers - 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 (for Oslo 45 minutes) have a higher level of centrality (32) than those with 36-75 minutes (for Oslo 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.
National level and county level.
Frequency and timeliness
Annual statistics. Normally published in the second quarter after the statistics year.
Not relevant. Few countries have statistics on victims based on offences reported to the police. Therefore, there is little demand for these statistics from the international agencies that Statistics Norway normally reports crime statistics to.
Collected and revised data are stored in accordance with Statistics Norway’s standard for file storing (see Datadok): Raw data files and catalogues are kept as they were received from PDMT. Files where the processing is complete, where they are ready and can be used for statistics production, are stored as both flat text files and SAS files, and documented in accordance with Statistics Norway’s prevailing requirements. All SAS files used in the processing and table production of the individual year are stored, and can thus be documented and reproduced.
Background and purpose
Statistics Norway has in the past, in connection with an analysis project, published statistics on offences reported to the police (1995-1998) with information on victims ( Gundersen 2000 , in Norwegian only). However, these two sets of statistics are not directly comparable due to considerable differences in the data basis, processing and definitions of statistical units. The statistics on victims 2004 are therefore regarded as new statistics from Statistics Norway. Statistics on victims of offences reported to the police have been developed and produced under commission by the Ministry of Justice and the Police. The production of statistics based on data for previous statistical years was considered, but has not been carried out for reasons of quality. As from 2009, new variables and regional statistics have been added to the statistics (see Definitions and Comparability over time and space under Background).
The purpose of this project is to map who is exposed to offences and who reports offences to the police, by different demographic background variables and type of offence. By mapping victims and reporters of offences, we wish to form a better basis for describing crime, and simultaneously obtain a wider understanding of the judicial system. Offences that include violations of persons are of special interest and have the best quality of data, and the statistics therefore place a particular focus on these victims and the types of offences they are subjected to.
Users and applications
Important users are different departments within the judicial system and others working in relation to victims, several government ministries, academic environments such as criminology, the research and education sector, parliament (Storting) and the media. The statistics also serve as a basis for information to anyone else interested in the state and development within the field of crime.
Equal treatment of users
No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 8 am. Prior to this, a notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of the most important Principles for Equal treatment of users in releasing statistics and analyses.
Coherence with other statistics
Victims of offences reported to the police are statistics under the subject Crime and the justice . Other annual statistics are Offences reported to the police , Offences investigated , Sanctions and Imprisonments . When using more than one set of crime statistics, it is important to be aware that the various parts do not necessarily refer to the same population of offences or persons. The investigation of an offence may be completed or a sanction given in another year than it was reported to the police. For an overall presentation of the crime statistics, see the publication Kriminalitet og rettsvesen 2009 (in Norwegian only).
Statistics on victims of offences reported to the police are an important supplement to the periodical mapping of exposure to and fear of crime in Survey of level of living, victimization and fear of crime and other surveys of victims (for example Ellingsen 2010, in Norwegian only).
The Norwegian Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs investigates cases where employees of the police or prosecuting authority are suspected of committing criminal offences in the course of duty. Offences which are investigated and completed by the Bureau without further prosecution or court proceedings are not included in the data basis for the statistics on offences reported to the police, victims of offences reported to the police and offences investigated. However, when such cases result in a sanction registered in the Criminal Record Register, they will be included in the statistics on sanctions. Furthermore, such cases are included in the statistics on imprisonments in the same manner as other criminal cases. A closer look at the offences registered by the Bureau in 2016 show that the vast majority of cases concern different types of misconduct and misuse of public authority (which in Statistics Norway’s crime statistics are classified as part of the group of offence Public order and integrity violations). The Bureau also investigates several other types of offences, including offences of violence and traffic offences.
The Bureau is an independent body, and is not organised as part of the police. The Bureau is administratively under the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, and professionally under the Director of Public Prosecutions (which also functions as the body of appeal for cases where prosecution is dropped and other types of prosecution decisions made by the Bureau). In their annual reports, the Bureau publishes statistics on offences reported and investigated over the course of the year.
Other related statistics from Statistics Norway are statistics on Causes of death (taken over by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health from the statistical year 2013) and statistics on Road traffic accidents involving personal injury . Murder statistics from KRIPOS (in Norwegian only) also include statistics on victims, but are arranged in a system based on a different definition of the sample (including year of crime and not registration). In some connections, users will be recommended to use the murder statistics from Kripos rather than the data on murder that now appears in Statistics Norway’s more general statistics on victims. For the statistical year 2006 and beyond, Statistics Norway has carried out a review and audit of all murder cases in relation to both the processing of reported offences and victims of offences reported to the police. Subsequent to these audits, the number of murders and victims, including demographic data, is approximately the same in the statistics from Kripos and Statistics Norway.
Statistics Act §§ 2-1, 2-2, 3-2 (forms/registers).
The statistics cover everyone with the role of "victim" in all reported offences registered in the course of the statistical year. Each registered offence normally constitutes one unit in the material. Where the report includes more than one offence, all matters that can constitute a separate point in the charge/indictment are registered. The number and type of reported offences in the statistics on victims should be identical to the number and type in the statistics on Offences reported to the police in the same year. Where an offence entails several different victims, all of them are retained for statistical purposes.
The statistics provide information on the type, number and scene of crime of the offences, as well as information on the type of victim and the victim’s sex, age and place of residence (see description of main concepts and variables under Definitions). 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 ).
Data sources and sampling
The extraction is taken from the police analysis and leadership system (PAL), which covers all registered offences in the police districts in Norway, special agencies and higher prosecution authorities. The Norwegian Police Data Processing Service (PDMT) is responsible for the output of the data. The data basis is the same as for statistics on offences reported to the police. In addition, data from the Central Population Register is used in the processing of the statistics (see Population statistics ). The Norwegian Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs investigates cases where employees of the police or prosecuting authority are suspected of committing criminal offences in the course of duty. The Bureau registers cases in a separate registry version of BL/STRASAK/PAL, and these cases are not included in the data basis for the statistics on victims of offences reported to the police (see Coherence with other statistics under Production).
See Population, Collection of data revision and estimations, Confidentiality, Comparability over time and space, and About the statistics for Offences reported to the police .
Collection of data, editing and estimations
The statistics are based on information from the central police registration system (BL/STRASAK/PAL), which contains all registered reports. Registration is initially made in a local database system (BL), after which the information is transferred to the central databases STRASAK/PAL. STRASAK/PAL is centrally updated the day after local registration in BL. Completing information on single cases in BL/STRASAK/PAL is carried out in the police and prosecution authorities’ own administrative registration system. Collecting data from STRASAK/PAL is carried out by the PDMT. The extraction from PAL is normally made about two weeks after the end of the statistical year.
The police registration systems include some validity controls of data. In addition, Statistics Norway performs its own controls and revisions of the material. For example: if there is insufficient information on which municipality the crime is committed in, other information from the register about the scene of crime is used. Duplicated (double entries) offences and victims are deleted, illogical valid values (for example dates) are revised or deleted. Data on individual cases, with a view to rectifying relatively extensive or major errors and omissions in the data basis, are in some cases retrieved from the PDMT, the police district or the National Bureau of Crime Investigation (Kripos). Since 2006, all murder cases have been controlled and revised (case by case) against information from Kripos and register data from the PDMT. All identifiable persons (based on date of birth, personal ID number and/or name) are supplemented with information from Statistics Norway’s population files.
Documentation describing the statistical system and the production of the data basis and tables in more detail is being prepared, and will be published as soon as it is completed.
The police's validity controls and processing routines at Statistics Norway are further developed as required, and are aimed at continually improving the data material and the statistics to be published.
In the statistics, four units are included based on the data from the police registers (for a full description of concepts, variables and classifications, see Definitions):
- The number of offences reported to the police including characteristics given, such as type of victim and group of offence (see statistics on Offences reported to the police ).
- The number of unique victims (persons) registered as a victim of one or more offences during the year, and the number of these persons with different characteristics, such as age, place of residence and number of offences they have been subjected to. For victims subjected to more than one offence during the year, the principal offence is attributed based on an approximate indicator on the basis of the minimum and maximum sentences, as well as other criminal procedure characteristics of the offence.
- The number of unique victims of violent offences , and the number of these victims with different characteristics, such as age. For victims subjected to more than one violent offence during the year, the principal offence is used (as for victim above).
- The number of unique victims of offences for profit, and the number of these persons with different characteristics, such as age. For victims subjected to more than one offence for profit during the year, the principal offence is used (as for victim above).
In addition, calculations of percentages and rates per 1 000 inhabitants are made (also for different ages, genders and regions). All rates per 1 000 inhabitants are calculated with figures for the population as of 1 January in the statistics year (see the population statistics . As a general rule, age is calculated based on date of birth and the date the offence was committed (see Definitions of the main concepts and variables under Definitions).
The statistics contain personal data and information on punishable offences that is considered to be highly sensitive - and are managed by Statistics Norway accordingly. In the data basis used for statistical purposes, all information collected solely for processing purposes is deleted (e.g. name).
The data basis is adapted for one specific statistical purpose, and individual inquiries about use of data for other purposes are considered in relation to this. Data basis or crime statistics that are not published by Statistics Norway may be supplied. This type of assignment, however, has a limited scope, and confidentiality and data quality requirements must be met.
The statistics are only published at a higher regional level (most often the whole country), and when classified at lower levels (county) the offences are only published in larger categories – e.g. by offence (group of offence) or age (ten-year). It is not therefore necessary to mark cells with few units on account of anonymity (as for other crime statistics published using the same principles). When releasing statistics with few units, the protection of privacy is, however, considered on a case by case basis.
Comparability over time and space
The share of offences with information about victims varies somewhat in the different police districts and counties. This can be connected to varying registration practices in the different police districts, and will have a bearing on the comparability between counties with regard to place of residence or scene of crime.
The statistics on victims of offences reported to the police in 2004 is first volume. Statistics Norway intend, however, to publish annual statistics on victims of offences that in the future will be comparable over time and place. Some minor changes have taken place since 2004:
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 Victims of offences reported to the police, 2006 for the new provisions on ill treatment in family relations.
Since the statistics year 2006, all murder cases have been controlled and examined (case by case) against information from Kripos and register data from PDMT. The murder figures are therefore somewhat lower than previous years, and the information on the murder victims more correct (see Coherence with other statistics under Background).
As from the statistics year 2009, the statistics contain the victims’ place of residence distributed by size of municipality and centrality, as well as exposure in or outside the municipality of residence (see Definitions of the main concepts and variables under Definitions).
Many regional standards are very stable over time, but reclassifications of these are also made – which in some cases is the determining factor for the content of the statistics. These can be either directly visible changes, which will appear in the statistics with a marked time break, or changes in the annual versions of standards that are not immediately apparent from the content of the individual tables. Changes in regional standards that are not directly visible are made when, for instance, a municipality changes county, when two municipalities merge or when the population in a municipality changes to such an extent that a different classification or size of municipality is required (see Definitions).
Accuracy and reliability
Sources of error and uncertainty
Statistics Norway can, to a certain extent, quality assure the data basis, but must - to a greater degree than in the statistics on perpetrators - use the information as it is in the police register at the time of extraction. Statistics Norway has a reasonably clear impression that the police registration of victims does not follow such strict requirements for precise and correct identification of role, or filling in of information on the victim compared to the registration of perpetrators. This means there is greater uncertainty in relation to the level of accuracy of the statistics on victims, both with regard to the scope of victims and whether the right person is identified as the victim in the case. However, the personal information on persons designated as victims in 2004-2010 had a very high level of completion - and by using several variables and sources there are very few victims who have an unknown value for the most central demographic variables (sex, age and place of residence) in the statistics.
The controls, revisions and deletions made by Statistics Norway are largely based on general principles - without making individual assessments in each individual case. In some special cases, the general principles will not be applicable and may create new errors that are not in the basis. This may, for example, occur in connection with the deletion of duplicates. However, with the help of thorough tests of this kind of procedure, Statistics Norway believes it has limited this kind of error to an absolute minimum.
Insufficient or incorrect information is not corrected through error reports to PDMT or the police districts, but revisions are made through dialogues with PDMT due to some system errors in the register. In special cases, a revision is carried out where relatively extensive or major errors or omissions have been found in the basis, and this particularly applies to murder cases (see Collection of data revision and estimations under Production, and Coherence with other statistics under Background).
Statistics Norway has few possibilities for controlling non-response errors of units in the event of insufficient registration of known and unknown offences and victims. There are, for instance, relatively large differences between the police districts’ shares of offences that have no information on victims. Although there are other conditions that are the main reason for these discrepancies between the districts, we cannot rule out some of the differences being due to varying registration practices. A varying practice in the registration of victims will thus result in a varying non-response of known victims in different parts of the country. Partial non-response (when some variables are missing on some units) occurs, but with the aid of internal controls in BL/STRASAK these are limited to less important variables.
The validity controls in the registration systems are varied, and have been developed over time. The controls will, to varying degrees, have a bearing on the degree of completion and the quality of the registers – which in turn may affect the content of the different years in the statistics. Statistics Norway firmly believes that the gradually introduced validity controls (primarily in BL) have improved the degree of completion and the quality, but that some new requirements and controls may also have contributed to new types of non-response and an impairment in the quality of some data in the data basis. Since the statistics on victims of offences reported to the police were first compiled for 2004, they are not affected by the historical changes prior to this. However, since the statistics apply the register information in a new way, and that there is no tradition of this type of application in Norway, it must be expected that new validity controls and guidelines that can affect the content of the statistics will be introduced in the future.
See About the statistics for Offences reported to the police .
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. 14 January) will not be included in the data basis. Offences, and the victims of these offences, which at a later point in time are re-registered as an offence with a registration date within the statistical year will not, therefore, be included in the data basis for the statistics on Victims of offences reported to the police (or Offences reported to the police). However, when settled by the police and prosecution authority, these kinds of re-registered offences will be included in the data basis for the statistics on Offences investigated.
During 2012 and 2013, there were far fewer late registrations of offences reported to the police and victims of offences reported to the police than in previous years. The annual average in these years was about 1 200 offences, making up just 0.3 per cent of all offences in the published statistics. Derived from the average in the time period 2008-2011, about 1-2 per cent of all offences were subject to late registration annually, and thus not included in the published statistics.
Statistics Norway does not have data to precisely quantify the impact of these registrations on how many victims (persons) in the reported offences have not been included in the statistics. As stated in About the statistics on offences reported to the police, we know that there is a relatively high proportion of narcotic offences that have not been included in the statistics of reported offences in the years before 2011. This does not affect the statistics on victims, in particular, because these offences rarely have registered victims. We also know that larcenies and other types of offences for profit, which constitute a very high proportion of all offences with victims, and where three out of four of the reported offences are registered with persons as victims, have seldom been re-registered. Changes in the scope of late registrations for other groups of offences, such as offences of violence and sexual offences, could have a somewhat greater impact – especially when the figures from 2011 and previous years are compared with the statistics for recent years.
Although the scope of the victims, i.e. everyone with the role of «victim» in all reported offences, should be somewhat greater, especially in the years before 2011, this indicates that the late registrations have a smaller impact on the statistics on victims of offences reported to the police than on the statistics containing only the reported offences.
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, but also that dark/missing figures can vary considerably for the different types of offences (see Survey of living conditions ). What crime is registered over time is also affected by changes in legislation and regulations. These phenomenon are, however, not exactly “errors” in the statistics, but elements that affect them. For more details of what can affect the crime statistics and their interpretation, see Kriminalitet og rettsvesen 2009 , kapittel 3 (in Norwegian only).
The statistics is now published as Offences and victims reported to the police.