New UNICRI Survey on Victimization
A Portrait of Victimization in the City of Bari

Bari, 13 March 2009. The outcomes of the survey “A Portrait of Victimization in the City of Bari,” prepared by UNICRI have been presented today by the Mayor of Bari Mr. Michele Emiliano and the Director of UNICRI Mr. Sandro Calvani, in the presence of the Prefect of Bari Mr. Carlo Schilardi.

This Survey is the first concrete product resulting from the cooperation established in June 2008 between the Municipality of Bari (Italy) and UNICRI. The research focuses on the magnitude of the phenomenon of predatory crimes and on the perception of security in the City of Bari. The aim of the Survey was to expand in-depth knowledge on safety and security with emphasis on urban crime victimization risks and citizens’ experiences.

This project takes advantage of the previous research International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS) conductedby UNICRI. The ICVS is the most comprehensive instrument developed thus far to monitor and study the volume of crimes, perceptions of crime and attitudes towards the criminal justice system. The data comes from surveying the general public and is therefore not influenced by any political or ideological agendas. 

Employing standardized questionnaires and other standard data collection aspects ensures that the resulting data can, within confidence margins, be reliably compared across countries or across individual cities. Victimization survey data provides an important complement to official statistical data produced by the police and other official agencies.

UNICRI interviewed 1.500 citizens of Bari with this victimization survey. The data collected shows the actual victimization rate of the citizens over the last five years in order to avoid underestimating crime and, thus, unjustified crime perception.

The survey data reveals that almost half of the citizens have been victimized for different crimes (including robberies, burglaries and other property crimes). The report shows that the “dark number” - the amount crimes that are not officially recorded - is relatively high because it accounts for 42%; nevertheless, the majority of people still chooses to file reports to police. Overall, 46% of people interviewed feel a significant fear of crime that influences the quality of life in the City of Bari.

The 58% of urban crimes were reported to police in the City of Bari, and the frequency with which victims or relatives report offences to the police is strongly related to the type of crime involved. The proportion of citizens who think that the police does a good job accounts for 51%. In the last years, municipal bodies have adopted measures to improve the support of urban crime victims. A cornerstone element of this initiative is a better treatment of victims, including the right to be informed about investigations and prosecution decisions.

The report also contains a comparative analysis of official statistics of crimes against the person and against property over the last four years.The analysis shows that damages, injuries, armed robbery, threats, insults and assaults have nearly remained constant. Theft, particular that of cars, is by far the most common crime committed.

This data has many practical uses, such as monitoring changes in victimization rates over time, understanding risks, comprehending victims’ decisions to file police reports, examining fear of crime and developing crime prevention strategies and urban security policies. The information collected may be used for the development of policies in the fight against urban crime and improve the collaboration between municipal bodies and the community.

According to the Director of UNICRI, Sandro Calvani, “The research conducted represents a starting point for future projects to be carried on in this territory and in other cities throughout Europe, providing an evidence based harmonization of policies on security”.

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