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Concerns over youth gangs and anti-social behaviour

Key data

Whilst there is a wealth of data on crime, social order and related issues, some studies are regarded as 'key' – either through their subject/geographical coverage, their methodology, their longevity, their usage among the research community or because they feed into the creation of 'official' figures and indicators.

The majority of the data described are known as 'raw', 'primary' or 'source' data in the sense that they represent information that has been collected 'first-hand'; they are original data sources which may then be used for 'secondary' analysis by researchers not involved in the data collection process. The majority of these data are anonymised because they describe the attitudes, behaviour, circumstances and personal details of the individuals being studied. These types of data are heavily used by the academic and government research communities.

The UK Data Service provides access to the following primary data sources:

Study name Coverage Topics
Arrestee Survey, 2003-2006 2003-2006
England and Wales
problematic drug misuse among arrestees
levels of demand for drug and alcohol treatment services
levels of intravenous drug use among respondents
gang membership
British Social Attitudes Survey, 1983- Most years since 1983 social attitudes with irregular crime questions:
what the government can do to cut crime (1994)
whether immigrants increase crime rates (1995 and 2003)
fear/worry about crime (1983, 1990, 1995)
Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development (Great Britain), 1961-1981 1961-1981
socio-economic conditions
school records and criminal records
tendencies towards violence
self-reported delinquency
Census aggregate data 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011: England, Wales, and Scotland
1991, 2001, 2011: Northern Ireland
Data available at many geographical levels (e.g. county, district, ward, output area). Availability of topics and categories vary by census, country and geographical level
communal establishments (e.g. prisons)
Citizenship Survey, 2001-
2001- 2010/11
England and Wales
identity and social networks
community cohesion
trust and influence
civil renewal
racial and religious prejudice and perceptions of discrimination
Commercial Victimisation Survey 2002 and 2012 onwards (data collection temporarily suspended in 2020)
England and Wales
crimes affecting businesses
crime prevention
unreported crimes
online crimes
Conflicts and Violence in Prison, 1998-2000 1998-2000 (cross-sectional (one-time) study)
illegal drugs
Context and Motive in the Perpetuation of Racial Harassment and Violence in North Staffordshire, 2004 2004
North Staffordshire
offending behaviour
views on racially-aggravated assaults
attitudes towards asylum-seekers
Crime in England and Wales (external site) 1979 onwards (data collection methodology has changed over time)
England and Wales
quarterly statistical bulletin published by the UK Home Office, January 2012 (recorded crime figures update to September 2011)
Crime, Social Order and the Appeal to Community, 1994-1996 1994-1996
England and Germany
crime and crime prevention
community-police relationship
police activities
criminal justice system
Crime Survey for England and Wales (formerly the British Crime Survey, 1982-) 1982- (biennial until 2001, then annual cross-sectional survey)
Respondents aged 16-59 years
England and Wales
crime victimisation
fear of crime
perception of local area (antisocial behaviour, night-time economy and alcohol disorder)
attitudes towards police and criminal justice system
Doing Youth Justice: Analysing Risk and Need Assessments in Youth Justice Practice, 2004-2005 2004-2005 (cross-sectional (one-time) qualitative study)
One local authority area in England
magistrates'/police/solicitors'/youth workers' understanding of young offenders
young offenders' understanding of criminal justice processes
Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime : Waves One to Four, 1997-2001 1997-2001 (longitudinal, continuing - ESDS currently holds Waves 1-4)
young people's involvement in crime behaviour
Eurostat New Cronos 1950- continuing (country and city level time series data)
European Union countries, plus some coverage of others, including Russia and United States
crimes recorded by the police disaggregated into the following categories (country level data):
  • homicide
  • violent crime
  • robbery
  • domestic burglary
  • motor vehicle theft
  • drug trafficking
crimes recorded by the police: homicide in cities (city level data)
police officers (country level, absolute numbers)
prison population (country level, absolute numbers)
general government expenditure on prisons
Gender Difference, Anxiety and the Fear of Crime, 1995 1995 (cross-sectional (one-time) study)
Some interviews contain life history details
community life
crime victims
fear of crime
International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS) (external site) 1989- continuing (individual survey data)
Around 70 countries
householders' experience with respect to crime, policing, crime prevention and fear of crime
Multilateral Policing in Africa: its Nature and Socio-Political Impact in Uganda and Sierra Leone, 2003-2005 2003-2005 (qualitative study)
Uganda and Sierra Leone
nature/provision of policing
use of policing made by different groups and individuals
National Evaluation of the New Deal for Communities Programme: Household Survey Data, 2002-2006 2002-2006 (cross-sectional, includes longitudinal element)
quality of life
views on local area
involvement in local community
experience of crime
household demographics
views on local services
Neighbourhood Boundaries, Social Disorganisation and Social Exclusion, 2001-2002 2001-2002 (mixed-methods, qualitative/ quantitative)
Edinburgh and Glasgow
fear of crime
perceptions of neighbourhood
attitudes towards neighbouring areas and those 'outside' immediate community
social deprivation
social and community cohesion
Neighbourhood Watch
groups and community organisations
attitudes to community policing
Offenders Index Cohort Data, 1953-1997 1953-1997 (subset of six cohorts from continuing longitudinal study)
England and Wales
court appearances and convictions for a cohort of offenders born in each of the years 1953, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1973 and 1978
Offending, Crime and Justice Survey, 2003-
2003- ‘rotating panel’ study (includes longitudinal element)
Respondents aged 10-29 years
England and Wales
measures of self-reported offending
indicators of repeat offending
trends in prevalence of offending, drug and alcohol use
information on nature of offences committed
Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (formerly ONS Opinions or Omnibus Survey)
Regularly since 1990, monthly since 2005
there have been a number of crime-related modules in the non-core questions, for example:
attitudes to domestic violence (June 2004)
attitudes to the police (December 1990 and October 1993)
anti-social behaviour (June 2004)
ONS Survey of Psychiatric Morbidity among Prisoners in England and Wales, 1997 1997
England and Wales
assessments of psychiatric conditions
alcohol/drug dependence
deliberate self-harm
post-traumatic stress
intellectual functioning
use of services before and in prison
key life events
social and economic functioning
Penal Communication, 2001-2002 2001-2002 (cross-sectional (one-time) study)
meaning of punishment
purpose of sentencing and punishment
probation, community service and combination orders
prison sentences
youth justice
public perceptions of sentencing
attitudes to criminal behaviour
reparation and restorative justice
Policing, Cultural Change and 'Structures of Feeling' in Post-War England, 1945-1999 1945-1999 (qualitative study)
police services
police, ministerial and political activities
community-police relationships
social change
crime and social history
Rape in the 21st Century: Old Patterns, New Behaviours and Emerging Trends, 2000-2002 2000-2002
demographics of victim and assailant
circumstances around attack
circumstances around reporting of attack
Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, 1993- 1993- (triennial, cross-sectional survey)
crime victimisation
perceptions of local area
varying modules over time (including violence, antisocial behaviour, personal safety, perceptions of the Scottish Criminal Justice System, prisons)
World Bank Africa Development Indicators 1960- continuing (annual time series) country level data
Africa, over 50 countries
crime (perception as a business constraint)
crime, theft and disorder (% of firms identifying this as major constraint)
CPIA Public Sector Management and Institutions index (a country level transparency, accountability and corruption rating)
corruption indices
World Bank World Development Indicators 1960- continuing (annual time series) country level data
Global, over 200 countries
corruption (perception as a business constraint)
courts (confidence in courts to uphold the law)
Young People and Crime Survey, 1992-1993 1992-1993
England and Wales
criminal offences crime and lifestyle factors
use of controlled drugs
young offenders


Other research communities are less interested in these primary, and predominantly individual-level, data and are more likely to be consumers of information that has been published at the aggregate-level (e.g. crime figures released by the UK Home Office and police forces), or research reports based on information collected at interview. Whilst the UK Data Service holds some aggregate-level data of interest to crime researchers – corruption indices published by the World Bank, for example, and European data on recorded crime, homicide, prison populations and police, published by Eurostat – we are only one of many online resources that provide access to published data based on the crime and social order theme.

Other key data publishers

Office for National Statistics

Home Office

Ministry of Justice

UK Statistics Authority

Scottish Government

Welsh Government services and information

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

Police Service of Northern Ireland

Inter-Governmental Organisations

Data catalogue

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