Crime Statistics and Analysis Division
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7592 8695
Frequency of release: Annually
Geographical coverage: England and Wales
Geographical breakdown: Local Authority and County
Survey name(s): Crime Survey for England and Wales
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) shows substantial falls in property crime, with levels having fallen by half since they peaked in the mid-1990s. These were driven by large reductions in high volume crimes such as vandalism, vehicle-related theft and burglary. While these high volume crime types continue to show falls, in contrast recent trends show increases in the lower volume personal theft offences such as theft from the person recorded by the police.
Recent increases in personal theft offences may reflect a range of factors including thieves focusing on high cost portable items such as mobile phones or tablet computers which are difficult to secure against theft and increasingly widely used. According to the 2011/12 CSEW almost half (46%) of theft from the person and robbery incidents involved theft of a mobile phone compared with just under a third (31%) in the 2010/11 survey.
According to the 2011/12 CSEW, around 2% of mobile phone owners experienced a phone theft in the previous 12 months. This proportion has been broadly consistent since 2005/06 (when the survey question was first introduced). However, due to the increase in mobile phone ownership over this period, the number of victims of mobile phone theft incidents has actually increased.
Mobile phone theft victims were most likely to be children aged 14 to 17 or young adults aged 18 to 24 years with the victimisation rate of these groups being twice as high as the average (4% compared with 2%).
Characteristics that contributed most to explaining the likelihood of victimisation varied by property crime type. For example, for both vehicle-related theft and theft from the person, younger adults were more likely to have been victims. The characteristic that contributed most to explaining the likelihood of being a victim of burglary was the level of home security; those households with less security measures in place were more likely to fall victim. Households in urban areas were also more likely to be victims of burglary than those in rural areas.
While we have seen substantial falls across many of the conventional property crime types over the last 10 to 20 years, some newer forms of crime have emerged. Based on the 2011/12 CSEW 4.7% of plastic card owners were victims of plastic card fraud in the last year; significantly higher than the more established acquisitive offences such as theft from the person and other theft of personal property (1.3% and 2.1% respectively). Trends in plastic card fraud in the CSEW shows rises in the proportion of card owners who were victims of fraud between the 2005/06 and 2008/09 surveys, with rates of victimisation subsequently falling.
The pattern of plastic card fraud victimisation by age shows a peak in the middle age groups, with lower rates of victimisation in the youngest and oldest age groups. Those in households with higher incomes and those in managerial and professional occupations were more likely to fall victim of plastic card fraud. This is in contrast to more conventional crimes like burglary, where likelihood of victimisation is typically higher among younger age groups and adults not in employment, and among households with lower incomes.
Over half (56%) of adults in England and Wales had received an unsolicited mass marketing fraud communication in the previous 12 months. While this shows that a relatively large proportion of adults were potentially exposed to becoming a victim of this type of fraud, only a very small percentage actually fell victim (less than 1% of those who received such a communication).
Findings from additional analyses based on the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales and crimes recorded by the police covering different aspects of property crime.
Other useful information
Following the Home Secretary’s acceptance of the recommendations of the National Statistician’s Review of crime statistics in June 2011 the collation and publication of crime statistics moved to the ONS on 1 April 2012. For previous publications, please see the Home Office website.
This release represents the third in a series of topic-based ‘Focus on’ bulletins based on the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales and police recorded crime data. These replace the Supplementary Bulletin publications formerly released by the Home Office.
The CSEW is a face-to-face survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of crime in the 12 months prior to the interview. For the crime types and population groups it covers, the CSEW provides a better reflection of the true extent of crime and a more reliable measure of trends than police recorded crime statistics. It has a consistent methodology and is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police, recording practice or police activity.
Police recorded crime data are supplied to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) by the Home Office, who are responsible for the collation of recorded crime data supplied by the 43 territorial police forces of England and Wales, plus the British Transport Police. Recorded crime figures are an important indicator of police workload. They can be used for local crime pattern analysis and provide a good measure of trends in well-reported crimes.
For information on how to interpret the crime statistics, please see the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales.
Crime Statistics Advisory Committee
In line with the National Statistician’s recommendations, an independent Crime Statistics Advisory Committee has also been formed to provide advice on issues related to the collection and presentation of these statistics. Please see the UK Statistics Authority website for further information and minutes of meetings.
Further survey information
A technical report is available providing information on CSEW survey design, weighting and survey response. The latest report is the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales Technical Report, Volume One.
Questionnaires for the survey these analyses are based on, and for the latest survey currently being used in the field, are available from the Crime statistics methodology page.
Anonymised datasets from the CSEW / BCS (in SPSS format) are available on the UK Data Archive through the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS). Researchers, including students, who need data for dissertations or practical work can use these datasets.
The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:
Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.