The scarcity of available data on crime is a crime itself. Many crimes go unreported to the police. Data that are collected are often not comparable from one locale to the next. What is illegal in one country may not be illegal in another. Developing an evidence-based strategy for reducing crime and violence can be daunting when systematic data collection on the subject is lacking.
Victimization surveys can be a great tool for gathering detailed information on certain offensesacross numerous locations. However, it is easy to become overly ambitious in such an endeavor,and wind up with a survey that may look like a crime survey, but in fact cannot be used to answerthe questions one wishes to answer.
These guidelines are intended to help those planning to fund or implement a victimization survey identify 1) the key decisions that need to be made before spending funds, and 2) the key questions to ask of those who will work with you along the way.