Survey of Bochum: a drop in victimisation and a rise in insecurity

The German city of Bochum has just published the first results of an on-line survey involving 3,500 people which was carried out in June. 15% of those interviewed said that had been victims of a crime. 60% of these were robberies. Theft with violence (0. 3%) and assaults (1. 6%) are a minor concern. Crimes involving damage to property (3. 6%) are more frequent. In general, figures related to victimisation are considerably lower than they were in former surveys which date back as far as 1998.

30-bochum_derhexer_2010-08-12_050The feeling of insecurity, and fear of crime, have increased. For example, although a mere 0. 3% have suffered theft with violence, 19% feel that it is plausible that they may be a victim of this in the coming months. In the case of assault, only 1. 6% had been a victim, but 21% thought that they would be in the coming year. Most believe that crime in their neighbourhood had increased (70%, burglaries; 53%, theft; el 34%, theft with violence and 29%, assault).

This fear has meant that 24% of those interviewed had acquired aerosols or electric weapons and that 43% had had safety mechanisms installed in doors and windows. In public areas they avoid places where young people (45%) or foreigners gather (50%). 27% said that they avoided speaking to strangers. The main worries are: terrorism (66%), crime (62%), climate change (48%), immigrants (36%) and unemployment (24%).

When specifying problems in their neighbourhood, things change. 34% see undisciplined divers as the main problem; foreigners are down at 20%; refuse and dirt, 17%; youngsters hanging around in the street, 13%; graffiti, 13% and drug abusers, 11%.

In general, those interviewed felt very safe at home (93% during the day and 83% at night), although it is actually the least safe, as in 2014 there were over 9,000 deaths due to domestic accidents, whereas there were only 3,500 in road accidents and 624 due to manslaughter or murder.

Roughly 70% of those who were victims of a crime reported the case to the police. In the case of damage, 55% did so to be compensated by the Insurance company; 49% said that they did so to avoid such a situation happening again; 38%, because they were very angry; 37%, because they saw it as an obligation as a citizen and 30%, because they wanted compensation from the person responsible for the damage (the question was multiple-choice, meaning that there could be more than one reason for reporting the crime). The most common answer (52%) was that reporting a crime was pointless.

Most made their complaints at the police station (42%); 15% did so by telephone; 10%, personally to a policeman in the street and only 3% took advantage of the on-line option. Only 27% felt that the Police would do whatever they could to resolve the case. Indeed, the police force was given a positive appraisal by only 53% of those interviewed.

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