Research and Statistical Bulletin 9/2018 ‘Experience of Crime: Findings from the 2016/17 Northern Ireland Crime Survey’

Date published: 28 February 2018

The Department of Justice (DOJ) today published Research and Statistical Bulletin 9/2018 ‘Experience of Crime: Findings from the 2016/17 Northern Ireland Crime Survey’ (NICS).

A National Statistics publication, the bulletin focuses on crime victimisation rates in Northern Ireland for the following broad crime types:

  • crimes affecting the whole household (mainly property offences), including vandalism, domestic burglary, vehicle-related theft, bicycle theft and other household theft; and
  • personal crimes against respondents only (mainly violent offences), including common assault, wounding, mugging (robbery and snatch theft from the person), stealth theft from the person and other theft of personal property.

Key Findings

  • Results from the 2016/17 Northern Ireland Crime Survey (NICS) estimate that 8.7% of all households and their adult occupants were victims of at least one NICS crime during the 12 months prior to interview, unchanged (p<0.05) from NICS 2015/16 (8.9%).The 2016/17 rate of 8.7% is one of the lowest NICS victimisation (prevalence) rates observed since the measure was first reported in NICS 1998 (23.0%).
  • Findings from NICS 2016/17 and the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW; formerly the British Crime Survey) 2016/17 show that the risk of becoming a victim of crime remains lower in Northern Ireland (8.7%) than in England and Wales (13.9%).These figures compare with 8.9% and 15.2% (respectively) in 2015/16.
  • The 2016/17 surveys suggest that incidence rates per 10,000 households / adults were generally higher in England and Wales than in Northern Ireland.The largest numerical differences related to: all household crime (1,423 in England and Wales v 911 in Northern Ireland); vehicle-related theft (322 v 176); vandalism (478 v 341); and vehicle vandalism (326 v 170).
  • An estimated 126,000 incidents of crime occurred during the 12-month recall periods for NICS 2016/17.This compares with the 2015/16 estimate of 114,000.The 2016/17 figure of 126,000 is almost three-fifths (57%) lower than the peak in 2003/04 (295,000), equating to 169,000 fewer crimes.
  • A subset of NICS crimes are broadly comparable with a subset of PSNI recorded crimes. The NICS 2016/17 estimates that 45% of these crimes identified in the survey were reported to the police. This compares with 41% in England and Wales (CSEW 2016/17).Burglary (57%) and vehicle-related theft (55%) displayed the highest reporting rates in Northern Ireland.In England and Wales, burglary (68%) was also most likely to be reported to the police.
  • The most common reason cited by both NICS and CSEW 2016/17 respondents for not reporting a crime to the police was ‘too trivial / no loss / police would not/could not do anything’ (71% and 69% respectively).In Northern Ireland, this was followed by ‘private matter / dealt with the matter ourselves’ (25%) and ‘inconvenient to report’ (16%).

Notes to editors: 

1.This is the second publication to be drawn from NICS 2016/17, a representative, continuous personal interview survey of the experiences and perceptions of crime of adults living in private households throughout Northern Ireland.  Previously conducted in 1994/95, 1998, 2001 and 2003/04, the NICS began operating on a continuous basis in January 2005.  It generally mirrors the format and core questions of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW; formerly known as the British Crime Survey).

2.An alternative, but complementary, measure of crime to offences recorded by the police, the main aims of NICS are to:

  • measure crime victimisation rates experienced by people living in private households regardless of whether or not these crimes were reported to, or recorded by, the police;
  • monitor trends in the level of crime, independent of changes in reporting levels or police recording practices;
  • measure people’s perceptions of and reactions to crime (for example, the level and causes of crime, the extent to which they are concerned about crime and the effect of crime on their quality of life);
  • identify the characteristics and circumstances of people most at risk from and affected by different types of crime;
  • measure public confidence in policing and the wider criminal justice system; and
  • collect sensitive information, using self-completion modules, on people’s experiences regarding crime-related issues, such as domestic violence.

3.The bulletin refers to fieldwork undertaken during the financial year 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017, which involved 1,877 people aged 16 years and over giving complete interviews.  This represents an eligible response rate of 62%.

4.National statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.  They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs.  They are produced free from any political interference.  They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access. 

5.The bulletin will be available in PDF format only from either the DOJ website ( or Analytical Services Group, Laganside House, 23-27 Oxford Street, Belfast BT1 3LA (Telephone: 9072 4529; Email:

6.All media queries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office on 028 9052 6444 . Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

Share this page

Back to top