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Public Meeting: Crime Trends in Bulgaria
 
On 3 May 2006, at a public meeting of the National Crime Prevention Commission, the Center for the Study of Democracy launched its latest report Crime Trends in Bulgaria 2000 – 2005. The event, held at the Hilton Hotel, was chaired by Minister of Interior, Mr. Rumen Petkov, and included input from Chief Commissioner Valentin Petrov, Director of the National Police Service, the Ambassador of the UK, Jeremy Hill, Mr. Bozhidar Bozhinov, Chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, other members of the Commission, MPs, business and media representatives.

In his opening address, Minister Petkov pointed out that a key element in the crime prevention model currently developed at the Ministry of Interior (MoI) is the independent monitoring of crime level and trends through regular victimization surveys conducted by non-government organizations. This is intended as a step towards heightened democratic control over the MoI and bringing the democratic oversight methods and approaches closer to those practiced in the EU. Minister Petkov referred to the various international and domestic crime surveys whose findings show that Bulgaria is as a country where crime is kept around or even below the average EU level. The number of crime victims in 2005 compared to 2004 has been diminishing and there was a fall in the proportion of victimized population in the last five years. The minister noted that given the different methodologies used in victimizations surveys and police crime records, the findings and conclusions made are inevitably different. At the same time the MoI no longer sees crime figures as just another statistic liable to spin. He insisted that the top MoI officials police statistics as an efficient tool in implementing MoI’s crime reduction policy.

The British Ambassador Jeremy Hill, welcomed the establishment of the National Crime Prevention Commission, supported by the UK Embassy, and confirmed the British government’s commitment to support Bulgaria in its effort to combat crime through sharing the best British crime reduction practices. Ambassador Hill acknowledged the presence of other EU representatives at the event as a sign of their countries’ willingness to aid Bulgaria in tackling this complex issue.

Chief Commissioner Valentin Petrov presented the report Dynamics of Recorded Crime and Crime Counteraction Measures of the National Police Service in the Period 2004 – 2005. He explained that police analysis of official crime statistics in the last few years shows a trend of relatively stable crime levels as well as a reduction in most crime categories. Police record only criminal offenses that have been reported to them and statistics should be regarded chiefly as a source of information about police activities and the workload of police officers. He argued, however, that the MoI is not the only institution with a role to play against crime in Bulgaria.

Mr. Tihomir Bezlov, Senior Analyst at the Center for the Study of Democracy, presented the main points of the report Crime Trends in Bulgaria 2000 – 2005, which were then discussed by the forum participants. Mr. Bozhidar Bozhinov, Chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and a member of the National Crime Prevention Commission noted that positive trends in crime are indeed obvious, but that crime prevention needs to be tackled on wider grounds. Among the main issues, debated was the public perception that crime is not actually falling and how the media are sometimes manipulating such perceptions.










Meeting agenda (MS Word, 39.5 KB)

Dynamics of Recorded Crime and Crime Counteraction Measures of the National Police Service in the Period 2004 – 2005

National Police Service: Crime Trends in Bulgaria 2004 - 2005 (MS Powerpoint, 2.95 MB)

 
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