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Crime Trends in Bulgaria: Police Statistics and Victimization Surveys
 
On January 26, 2005 the CSD organized a discussion to present the results of the first national representative victimization survey, carried out with the support of the US Department of Justice. Members of Parliament, security services officers, experts from state institutions and non-governmental organizations and foreign diplomats took part in the discussion at the Sheraton hotel in Sofia.

In his opening remarks Dr. Ognian Shentov, CSD Chairman, pointed out that efficiency in countering crime is an indicator for good governance in all democratic states. He also said that on the eve of the EU membership Bulgaria needs an institutional mechanism to collect objective information about the criminological situation in Bulgaria. The mechanism should meet two important conditions: it has to provide access to alternative sources of information through instruments such as the victimization surveys and it has to be public-private in order to be trusted by the end-user.

Mr. Thomas Peebles, Resident Legal Advisor at the US Embassy, put a stress on the fact that the Bulgarian people continue to view crime as one of the nation’s major problems, and they look to their government for progress and solutions. In order to formulate an effective crime-fighting strategy, policy makers and law enforcement officials need a clear picture of the extent of crime in the country, yet Bulgarian law enforcement agencies do not have a synchronized approach in measuring crime, and official statistics are not always consistent. That is why this victimization survey is especially useful as it is a step forward in Bulgaria’s effort to develop a sound statistical basis for measuring crime in Bulgaria and a necessary part of the effort to fight crime more effectively, Mr. Peebles concluded.

Mr. Tihomir Bezlov, CSD Senior Analyst and Mr. Alexander Stoyanov, Director of Vitosha Research, presented the methodology and results of the victimization survey. Experts from various government bodies commented the findings of the report in the discussion that followed. Ms. Tatyana Doncheva, MP and member to the Parliamentary Committee on Internal Security and Public Order, suggested the establishment of a permanent unit to provide criminological analyses and carry out victimization surveys for the government. She also said that the Ministry of Interior needs to show a policy of non-tolerance towards not-registered crimes.

Ms. Nadezhda Sandolova, Head of Central Bank and International Debt Department at the National Audit Office, agreed with Ms. Doncheva on the need of reforms in the MoI and added that the Ministry's budget management also needs to be reformed through the introduction of the so called "program budgets" which require development of detailed policies and precise definition of priorities. Mr. Roumen Georgiev, National Investigation Service, highlighted the advantages of the Information System for Crime Curbing through collection of data for investigated crimes as a way to depoliticize crime statistics.



Agenda
The report: Crime Trends in Bulgaria: Police Statistics and Victimization Surveys
Opening remarks of Mr. Thomas Peebles, Resident Legal Advisor, US Department of Justice, US Embassy in Sofia
Presentation of Mr. Alexander Stoyanov, Director, Vitosha Research (in Bulgarian, PowerPoint)
Presentation of Mr. Tihomir Bezlov, Senior Analyst, CSD (in Bulgarian, PowerPoint)
Media coverage in Bulgarian
Media coverage in English
 
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