Trends & Policies in Criminal Justice
- No. 004 July 2020
- Dr. Kim Minyoung is a Research Fellow at Korean Institute of Criminology. (email@example.com)
- Dr. Han Minkyung is a Research Fellow at Korean Institute of Criminology.
- Park Heejung is a Researcher at Korean Institute of Criminology.
Korean Crime Victim Survey 2018
The Korean Crime Victim Survey is conducted every two years to measure unreported crime victimization and losses resulting from criminal acts, to analyze vulnerabilities of victims, and to gauge public perception and attitudes towards criminal victimization.
The official title of this research is “National Public Safety Survey” (designated as ‘Approved Statistics No. 403001’ by Statistics Agency Dept., Korea National Statistical Office)
- Target population: All households within the region under administrative authority in the Republic of Korea at the time of the survey and members of the family aged 14 and over
- Survey Population: All households and members of the family aged 14 and over, within general enumeration districts and apartment enumeration districts of the 2017 Population and Housing Census
- Stratification and Sampling
- - Stratified sampling (enumeration district): The first stratification divided the nation into 8 metropolitan cities and 9 provinces. Sejong City and 9 provinces were further divided into townships (eup) and municipalities (myeon, dong). The last step selected a total of 610 enumeration districts from those townships and municipalities.
- - Systematic sampling (11 households from each enumeration district)
- Weighting: Design weight, Nonresponse adjusted weight, Poststratification weight
- Data Collection: Door-to-door survey (either faceto-face interview or self-administered)
- Survey cycle: Two years (odd-numbered years)
- Survey period: May 30, 2019 to July 21, 2019
- Sample size: 13,136 participants aged 14 and over from 6,704 households
Highlights of the national crime victimization in a time series
Victimization of voice phishing: compared to 2008
- Experiences of voice phishing
In 2018, 8,309,002 individuals or 18.24% of population aged 14 and over (45,553,126), answered that they had received a phone call, text message, or messenger message suspected to be voice phishing. In 2008, 27,697,328 respondents or 71.67% of people aged 14 or over (38,647,220) said that they had received voice phishing related calls, text messages or so. Compared to 2008, the total number of people exposed to the crime decreased remarkably but still a considerable number of people were exposed to it.
- Voice phishing has become more sophisticated
It is outstanding that the ratio of “institutional impersonation (pretending to represent a trusted institution, financial company and government agency)” scams among all suspected voice phishing increased in 2018 compared to 2008. 65.13% of all the voice phishing among people aged 14 or over in 2018 was impersonation of financial institutions including banks, or investigative or supervisory agencies such as Police, Prosecution Service and Financial Supervisory Service.
Victimization of violent crime
- Victims’ self reviews on their response to crime
In 2018, among the victims of violent crime, 41.57% said that they tried to protect themselves, while 58.43% did not. Even the victims who replied that they did not aggressively respond to attack by the offender believed that their response helped to deter further victimization or reduce the harm.
- Psychological consequences caused by violent crime
In 2018, 77.03% of violent crime victims experienced emotional impacts such as depression, helplessness or loss of self-confidence while 66.72% suffered from panic disorder or fear of shock. In addition, the survey found that violent crime victims experienced one or more psychological or mental disorders
Victimization of property crime
- Recognition of property victimization
Given the fact that property victimization is often discovered after a certain period of time, it differs from violent victimization, where victims of violent crimes can directly perceive physical injury and damages. Regarding the survey of property crime, respondents had difficulties in recalling the exact time of crime occurrence. Some answered that they only remember the fact that the crime happened in the daytime or at night while others didn’t remember even whether it occurred in the daytime or at night. The ratio of respondents answering that they did not know whether it happened in the daytime or at night increased from 36.18% in 2012, 38.81% in 2014, 41.97% in 2016, to 51.5% in 2018. In other words, the number of victims who belatedly finds out property victimization has increased.
- Low restoration rates in fraud or burglary victimization
The ratio of respondents who did not retrieve stolen items was 84.52% in 2012, 89.90% in 2014, and 90.66% in 2016, followed by 92.39% in 2018. Meanwhile, only 1.37% of respondents replied that they recovered all items stolen, and the rate of victims partially recovering theft losses only marked 1.10%. On the other hand, in 2018, the rate of crime victims reporting any property victimization to insurance companies was 47.56%, the highest level since 2012. Still, the restoration rates in fraud or burglary victimization are far lower.
Reporting to law enforcement and handling criminal cases
- An increase in violent crime reports
In 2018, 32.60% of those who experienced violent crimes answered that they reported the crime to the police, the highest rate of police reporting since 2012.
- A difference in crime reports by types of crime
In 2018, 32.60% of those experiencing violent victimization reported to the police, whereas in the case of property victimization, only 21.71% did. As for property victimization, restoration of loss resulting from crime is considered to be as a significant reason in reporting along with arrest or punishment of an offender. 54.28% of those who did not report to the police did not see their property damage as serious.
Perception on crime occurrence and fear of crime
- The perception gap in crime occurrence across the nation and in neighborhoods, and the similar trends of the national victimization and perception on crime occurrence
In particular, as for the question of whether the crime rate would increase in the future in Korea and neighbors, the answer to “yes” increased in 2019 compared to 2017, which confirmed the similar trend in the national victimization. As an increase in the criminal victimization and perception on crime occurrence affects individuals’ perceptions of the future negatively, it is necessary to address the issues when developing policies.
- Steady decline in fear of crime at night
The rate of fear of crime at night increased slightly from 19.6% in 2017 to 20.3% in 2019. However, the figure has been on the decline from 20.7% in 2017 to 19.8% in 2019 reflecting demographic characteristics including sex and age.
- Gender difference in fear of becoming a victim of crime
Findings indicated that females were more fearful of crime than males. The gender difference decreased slightly in 2015 compared to 2013, however women’s fear was about 20% higher than that of men. The result can be explained by the fact that women are more vulnerable to crime than men.
Suggestions for Korean Crime Victim Survey
- This survey targeted population aged 14 or over of a member of household. However, it is required to have a separate survey considering the characteristics of children and under ages. Thus, it is necessary to come up with ways to have crime victimization survey on children and minors conducted on a regular basis as well as raise the age limit of survey.
- In addition, it is essential to continuously modify the questionnaire considering changes with the times and continuity of time series. In particular, the number of repeated victimization was not publicized as only handful number of them was reported (the same reason of the fifth survey in 2017). It is required to improve measuring repeated victimization and questionnaire.
- When it comes to constant review in methods of data collection and survey results, careful review and corresponding measures are needed in case of a collision between privacy protection and expanding the level of information disclosure for academic and policy development.
Expected Effect of the Policies
Provision of data for crime prevention and victim protection by identifying criminal victimizations and public perception and attitudes towards crime
- It is expected that the survey may contribute to improving existing policies for preventing criminal victimization and protecting victims as it identifies types of crimes that people experienced in 2018 and provides concrete and empirical basic data on what those victims experienced.
- Public anxiety about crime can be relieved by identifying factors that influence public perception about crime occurrence and fear of crime, and developing relevant policy reponses.
Korea Crime Victim Survey, Crime victimization, Voicephishing, Fear of crime, perception on occurrence of crime