Conventional Crime and Trust in Police Authorities

Policy Brief

The low trust of Bulgarian citizens in police authorities has a direct impact on the level of reporting of criminal incidents by victims of crime. The low levels of crime reporting create a systemic problem, as they impede effective investigation and the administration of justice, which poses the risk of increase in conventional crime.

The analysis examines the main factors behind these trends, in particular the flaws in crime registration by the police, and recommends measures for promoting civic activism and trust in police authorities.

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Regional Dimensions of Crime in Bulgaria

Regional differences in the levels of conventional crime have remained poorly studied. The analysis of indicators, constituting significant variances between regions, municipalities and police precincts allows for identifying weaknesses in the strategies for preventing and countering crime.

The publication presents two innovative assessment tools – the Index of Registered Conventional Crime (Conventional Crime Index), which measures the levels of conventional crime, as well as the Index of Civic Activity in the Reporting of Crimes (Index of Reporting), which reflects on the rate of activity of citizens with regard to reporting criminal incidents. Both indices allow for the analysis of variances at both the regional and municipal level in terms of population victimization and reporting rate in the 28 regions of Bulgaria. In addition, the indices the give ground for further analysis of various demographic, social, economic and institutional factors that may play a significant role in the process of crime registration.

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Crime Registration in Bulgaria

This report illustrates an overview of the current legislative framework in Bulgaria, regulating the processing of signals for criminal incidents and their subsequent registration by the police. The report also presents a functional analysis of the procedural aspects related to receiving, registering and processing of such signals, reported by citizens. The report examines the prerequisites in the legislation and its application, which could allow for certain deviations in the process of registration. In addition, the authors have put forward a set of recommendations related to opportunities they have identified for increasing the interaction between the regional structures of the Ministry of Interior, municipal authorities and civil society organizations with the aim to improve the regime for registration and processing of signals. In the context of mutual strengthening of the negative consequences that police filtering has on crime dynamics and non-reporting of criminal incidents by citizens, there is a strong need for paying particular attention to the efficiency and reliability of the procedures pertaining to crime registration.

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Crime Trends in Bulgaria 2010-2020

The issue with conventional crime has remained as one of the most dominant topics in Bulgarian society in the past 30 years. In the late 1990s, along with the phenomenon of “power crime groups” – the Bulgarian version of organized crime, the huge number of daily criminal incidents created a feeling of insecurity and fear among Bulgarian citizens. As a result, there is a tendency in society for extremely strong distrust in the information received from the institutions, especially in the data on the criminal situation in the country.

The current report presents an analysis on the results from the National Crime Survey conducted in the first half of 2020 and puts forward recommendations for increasing the efficiency of the institutions in registering crimes reported by victims.

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