The Korean Crime Victim Survey for the year 2014 adopted the same survey system of the Korean Crime Survey for the year 2012 in terms of sampling, survey method and survey items and compared its findings with that of the 2012 survey, to build a stable survey database for criminal victim surveys. In other words, the purpose of this survey is to verify the victimization rates and damages and outcomes of crimes across different types of crime, identify the factors which cause vulnerability to crimes, illuminate the general public's perception of and attitude towards crimes, as well as verify how they changed from the year 2012. The survey also includes findings from the 2008 and 2010 surveys, if applicable, in the comparative analysis to trace the changes over time.
- Analyzed the victimization rates across crimes and city sizes under the crime victim categorization system, and changes in crime victimization
- Identified occurrences and outcomes of crimes across crime victim categories, and compared the findings from surveys for other years
- Surveyed crime report rates, crime victims' experience and satisfaction with crime processing, and analyzed changes in crime reporting and processing at the police
- Analyzed factors which cause vulnerability to victimization, and compared findings from different years
- Analyzed the general public's fear and perception of crimes, as well as changes therein. Perception of crime trends, fear of crime, preventive activities
-Target population: Households and household members who are 14 years old or older residing in areas within the territory of the Republic of Korea subject to the country's administrative power as of the date of survey (May 29 2015)
-Survey population: All households and household members who are 14 years old or older residing in the general enumeration districts (1) and the apartment enumeration districts (A) among the overall enumeration districts for the 2010 Census.
* Sampling Method
- Enumeration district sampling: Stratified random probability sampling (25 strata, taking account of 16 Si/Do and Dong/Eup/Myeon)
- Household sampling: Selected 10 households from each district through systematic sampling
* Data collection Interview survey through personal visits to target households, in combination with self-reporting questionnaires
* Total number of samples surveyed
- Total number of households surveyed: 6,960 households
- Total number of persons surveyed: 14,976 persons
* Survey period
- Surveyor training: 2015. 5. 27. ~ 6. 10.(2 weeks)
- Survey period: 2015. 5. 29. ~ 7. 17. (7 weeks)
# Survey delayed due to risks of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) infection
* Survey Period and Date of Survey
- Survey period: From January 1 to December 31, 2014
- Date of Survey: May 29 2015
4. Key Findings
1) Victimization Rates and Crime Results
- Crime Victimization Rates by Crime Types and Change Thereof: The overall victimization rate was 3.7% (555 reported crimes among 14,976 persons: estimated at 1,612,701 crimes among 44,039,786 persons). The victimization rate of violent crimes was 0.4%, and that of property crimes was 3.3%.Compared with the victimization rate found in 2012 Crime Victim Survey, which used the same questionnaire, all of the overall victimization rate, the victimization rate of violence crimes, and the victimization rate of property crimes decreased (from 4.6% to 3.7%, from 0.7% to 0.4%, from 3.8% to 3.3%, respectively).
- Victimization Rates of Crimes against Households: Victimization types of crimes against households can be divided into victimization by crimes involving intrusion upon habitation, and victimization by other crimes against households. The 2014 survey found that 1.6% of the total households surveyed victimized by crimes involving intrusion upon habitation, and 1.4% of the total households victimized by other crimes against households. The total number of crimes involving intrusion upon habitation was 123, and the number of other crimes against households was 120. The analysis of the occurrences and changes of crimes against households after the 2009 revision showed overall decrease of victimization rates for both the crimes involving intrusion upon habitation and the other crimes.
- Rate of Crimes Reported to the Police: Of the 555 crimes experienced by the respondents, 123 crimes were reported to the police recording 22.8% reporting rate. The reporting rate of violence crimes (17.5%) was surpassed by the reporting rate of property crimes (22.7%). The overall reporting rate increased from 14.5% in 2008 to 22.8% in 2014, which shows the people's perception towards reporting crimes has recently become more positive. However, the overall reporting rate in 2014 decreased from 2012. This seems to be attributable to the respondents' reluctance to report the crimes because of the growing fear fueled by recent incidents where the identities of victims of violence crimes were disclosed, or crime victims fell victim to retributive crimes, as evidenced by the reasons for not reporting crimes given by the respondents.
- Processing of Reported Crimes and Satisfaction Therewith: In the 2014 survey, the percentage of violence crimes processed by the police was higher than the percentage of property crimes processed by the police. The percentage of cases where the police provided information on crime processing procedures was also higher for violence crimes than property crimes. As for satisfaction with the measures taken by the police, victims who reported violence crimes reported generally more positive opinions compared with victims who reported violence crimes. In addition, the percentage of crimes where the police took actions or provided information on crime processing procedures found in the 2014 survey increased from those in the 2012 survey. After 2008, crime victims expressed positive opinions on the actions taken by the police against crimes.
2) Factors Causing Vulnerability to Crimes in 2014 Survey
- Victimization by Regions: 1.As for property crimes, both physical disorder and social disorder had significant influences on the victimization rate of property crimes. While 5.1% of the respondents who reported that the areas where they reside are physically disorderly areas experienced property crimes, only 2.7% of the respondents who answered that the areas where they reside are not disorderly were victimized by the same type of crime. In addition, efficiency of police activities was found to have significant influence on property crimes: the property crime victimization rate of the group of respondents who viewed police activities as effective was 2.6%, lower than 4.5% of the group who answered police activities are not effective. 2.The violence crime victimization rate was not significantly related with relationship with neighbors, involvement with neighbors, and effectiveness of police activities. It was, however, significantly related with the level of physical disorderliness. The percentage of respondents who experienced violence crimes was higher when the level of physical orderliness was high (0.8%), compared with when the level is low (0.2%) or modest (0.5%).
- Victimization by Demographic Characteristics: 1.In case of property crimes, more women experienced than men (3.6% compared with 2.6%). In terms of age, 3.9% of the respondents in their 40's answered that they have experienced property crimes, recording the highest victimization rate. They were followed by the respondents in their 50's (3.8%) and 30's (3.7%). Only 0.9% of the teenage respondents reported experiences with property crimes, showing the lowest victimization rate. In terms of marriage status, the unmarried respondents recorded a lower victimization rate than the married group, and the level of education was found to be positively correlated with property crime victimization rate. Across occupations, the group working in sales or service sectors showed the highest victimization rate at 4.0%, followed by respondents who are military members (3.8%), managers/professionals (3.7%), and housewives (3.4%).2.As for violence crimes, all demographic characteristics except for gender and level of education were found to significantly affect the violence crime victimization rate. In terms of ages, the respondents in their 10's and 20's showed higher victimization rates than the other age groups, and the unmarried group showed a higher victimization rate than the married group. In terms of occupations, relative higher percentage of students (0.8%) and office workers (0.4%) experienced violence crimes.
- Victimization by Lifestyle Characteristics: 1. As for property crimes, the respondents who hardly or never uses public transportation reported the lowest victimization rate, and the group of respondents who return home late every night experienced less crimes compared with the group of respondents who do not. The frequency of returning home drunk, wearing fancy clothes or famous brands when going out did not produce significant difference in the victimization rate. 2. As for violence crimes, the respondent group who use public transportation 3~4 days a week demonstrated the highest victimization rate at 0.6%, followed by those who use public transportation 5 days or more (0.5%), 1~2 days (0.3%), and 2~3 days (0.1%) a week. The group of respondents who return home late every night reported the highest victimization rate of 5.05%. Returning home drunk produced no significant difference in violence crime victimization rate.
- Victimization by Household Characteristics: 1.As for property crimes, respondents living in monthly rent-based or deposit-based rental houses or free houses experienced more crimes than those living in self-owned houses. The respondent group who earn less than 1 million Korean Won per month reported the lowest property crime victimization rate. 2. Differences of violence crime victimization rates was significantly related only with the income level of respondent households: the group who earn 5 million Korean Won or more per month reported the lowest victimization rate.
- Comparison of Factors Causing Vulnerability by Years: The respondents of the survey for the year 2015 reported a higher average score for their relationship with their neighbors (M = 2.79, SD = 0.98) than the survey for the year 2013 (M = 2.63, SD = 0.99). The former demonstrated a strong perception that the relationship between neighbors has improved. The perceived level of physical and social disorder deteriorated in 2015 compared with 2013. The respondents were feeling that the regions where they reside have become dirtier, more disorderly, and more noisy compared with two years ago. On the contrary, the respondents' perception towards police activities became more positive in 2015 (M = 10.21, SD = 2.12) than in 2013. The perceived level of crime prevention decreased in 2015 (M=3.87_ compared with in 2013 (M=4.01).In addition, as for the lifestyle characteristics, the frequency of using public transportation in 2015 (M = 2.76, SD = 1.21) was lower than 2013 (M = 2.94, SD = 1.18). The frequency of returning home late at night in 2015 (M = 4.37, SD = 1.71) showed an increase from that in 2013 (M = 4.04, SD = 1.92). The frequency of coming home drunk also showed an increase between 2013 (M = 5.44, SD = 1.14) and 2015 (M = 5.49, SD = 0.99). In addition, the percentage of respondents who wear luxurious clothes or accessories and famous brands when going out increased between 2013 (M = 2.02, SD = 0.85) and 2015 (M = 2.14, SD = 0.92).
3) Perception and Fear of Crime
- Perception of Crime Occurrences: The respondents' perception of the national crime trends in South Korea was compared with their perception of the crime occurrences in their respective neighborhoods. The perception of the national crime occurrences in South Korea (M = 3.45, SD = 0.76) was given a high average score than the perception of the crime occurrences in the respondents' neighborhoods (M = 3.06, SD = 0.65), demonstrating a statistically significant difference between the two.
- Factors Affecting Perception of Crime Occurrences: While there was no significant difference between males and females in terms of their perception of crime occurrences in South Korea, age, marriage status, level of education, occupation, household income, direct/indirect experience with victimization, regional characteristics, and exposure to media were found to produce meaningful differences. In addition, statistically meaningful differences were found in perception of crime occurrences in the respondents' respective neighborhoods in terms of gender, marriage status, level of education, occupation, household income, direct/indirect experience with victimization, regional characteristics, and exposure to media.
- Fear of Crime: The average score for fear of crime in general, which refers to the feeling of being afraid to being alone or go out alone at night, was 2.34 (SD = 1.01). As for specific types of fear, the fear of property crimes recorded an average score of 2.18 (SD = 0.80), the fear of violence crimes scored 2.11 (SD = 0.81), and the fear of sexual crimes scored 2.01 (SD = 0.96).
- Factors Affecting Fear of Crime: Females were more fearful of crimes than male respondents, people in their 30's than people in their 10's and 20's, unmarried people than married people, people with higher level of education than people with lower level of education, and people with higher income than people with lower income. In addition, it was found through an analysis of whether experience with victimization produces any difference in fear of crime that people who directly experienced victimization or indirectly experienced it through people close related to them were more fearful of crimes. In addition, fear of crime diminished when neighbors are closer together, or the local police is perceived as efficient. To the contrary, the higher the level of physical or social disorder, more afraid the people were of crimes. In addition, exposure to crime-related news or TV programs and talking with others about crimes were significantly positively correlated with fear of crimes in all areas.
- Levels of, and Factors Affecting, Crime Prevention Activities 1.The average score for passive crime prevention activities was 2.52 (SD = 0.79), with men giving higher scores in general than women. The average score was the lowest among teenage respondents, then gradually increased in subsequent age groups, reaching the highest average score in the 30's group, and then gradually decreasing. As for marriage status, the currently married respondents recorded a higher score than the unmarried respondents, and the respondents who lost their spouses or divorced recorded a higher score than the currently married respondents. In addition, the respondents with direct or indirect experience with victimization were found to be more actively engaged in passive crime prevention activities, and the respondents residing in Seoul showed a higher level of crime prevention activities compared with respondents residing in other regions. 2. As for active crime prevention activities, the average score was 1.97 (SD = 0.98), with men scoring higher than women, and people in their 10's, 60's and 70's scoring lower than the other age groups. Groups with higher levels of education scored higher, and the currently married respondents scored higher than the other groups. In addition, as for experiences with victimization, people who experienced victimization were found to be more actively engaged in active crime prevention activities, the respondents residing in Seoul showed a higher level of crime prevention activities compared with respondents residing in other regions.
- Change of Perception and Fear of Crimes and Crime Prevention Activities over the Years: The percentage of respondents who answered that crime occurrences increased in South Korea was the highest in 2009 at 75.7%, decreasing in 2011 to 61.4%, slightly increasing in 2013 to 63.7%, and then decreasing again in 2015 to 50.2%.The perceived occurrences in their respective regions showed the same pattern over the years: the percentage markedly decreased in this year's survey. Secondly, fear of crime also has been alternating between decrease and increase since 1996, reaching the lowest point this year. Lastly, the level of passive crime prevention activities in this year's survey decreased from the result of the 2013 survey, while the level of active crime prevention activities increased.
5. Reforms and Improvements
The National Crime Victim Surveys are conducted every other year. To ensure their reliability and validity, it is imperative to conduct the surveys after setting the direction for long-term improvement through a comprehensive approach based on the experiences and findings accumulated for a certain period of time, rather than carrying out improvement works for each survey. The reforms and improvements suggested herein are as follows: 1) review the types of crime victimization to be measured through crime victim surveys; 2) improve the screening questions asking a respondent's experience with victimization in the basic questionnaire, and the questions on the details of crime in the case survey questionnaire, based on the types of crime victimization to be measured; 3) compose more respondent-friendly questionnaires, 4) review the current PR practices for the surveys; 5) Move up the reference date for the surveys; 6) come up with ways to improve the success rate of the original samples; 7) review the current data collection method; and 8) stabilize the selection of the survey agencies.