Queen Silvia of Sweden will award Jan van Dijk, Professor at Tilburg University, the Stockholm Prize in Criminology on Thursday, June 12. Van Dijk will receive the prize for establishing the International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS). This survey of citizens’ experiences with crime has been carried out several times since 1989 in more than 80 different countries.
Crimes such as car theft, burglaries and robberies have decreased in the last twenty years in almost all western countries. The main reason for this is the increase in safety measures taken by citizens themselves, an increase that has been witnessed in all areas. Changes to policing and the penalties for criminals in each country on the other hand seem to have had little effect. Victims of crime also report lower levels of satisfaction with regards to treatment by the police, although police action in general is rated more positively than in previous surveys. These are just some of the conclusions drawn from the International Crime Victims Survey.
According to the panel of experts judging the Stockholm Prize in Criminology, the victim survey has ‘removed the haze of confusion about whether crime occurs more or less frequently’. The research makes it possible to compare crime in different countries. Since the data has been provided by citizens, it has not been influenced by the different ways in which crimes are recorded or by national political or ideological agendas. In 2013, the survey will be carried out in all member states of the European Union by order of the European Commission.
The Stockholm Prize in Criminology is considered to be the most prestigious award in this field, and is therefore often referred to as the Nobel Prize for criminology. The prize has been awarded annually since 2006 by the Swedish Ministry of Justice for excellence in the study of criminology. There is also a monetary prize of 1 million Swedish krona (110,000 euros).
Since 2006, Jan van Dijk has held the post of Professor of Victimology at Tilburg University’s International Victimology Institute (INTERVICT). His chair, named after Pieter van Vollenhoven, is sponsored by the Fonds Slachtofferhulp (victim support fund in the Netherlands). Van Dijk was formerly director of the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) of the Netherlands Ministry of Justice, and director of the United Nations’ Crime Prevention program in Vienna. In the Netherlands, Van Dijk is famed as the founder and first chairman of the Dutch victim support organization Slachtofferhulp Nederland.
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