Victimization surveys are an important source of reliable information as a basis for understanding and combating national and local crimes, formulating policies and programmes to promote safety. They are also required instruments for effective and efficient planning, operations and administration by the police, prosecutors, judges and prison officials. Victimization surveys help to elicit a clearer picture of levels of criminal victimization as well as the opinion of a cross-section of society on matters relating to crime and punishment, their perception of the criminal justice agencies and the method of handling of offenders and victims. Apart from identifying crime trends, victim surveys indicate broad areas for further debate, investigation and intervention.
To understand crime levels, three standard sources of crime data are generally used: official crime reports, self-reports and victim surveys. Crime reports generated by criminal justice agencies contain different information, depending on the requirements of the registering agency. Police reports cannot be considered reliable on account of the number of crimes perpetrated because not all crimes are reported by the victims. Because of the variety of recording practices, practical problems and political agendas, crime statistics just reflect the police performance in recording crimes. Research has also shown that crime statistics on self-reported crimes are unstable and quite unreliable and also depends on the type of crime. According to some estimates, the general ratio between crimes actually committed and crimes made known to the police is quite high.
It is based on these inadequacies in national crime statistics that Crime victimization surveys emerged. Over the past 20 years, a growing number of countries have initiated victimization surveys to assess national or local crime problems. Such surveys ask representative samples of the general public about selected offences they may have experienced over a given time. The resulting victimization rates constitute a better indicator of the level of crime than the number of crimes reported to and recorded by the police. Thus crime surveys offer a new opportunity for the collection of crime statistics. It produces data on characteristics of victims, the costs or injurious consequences of crime, or the circumstances in which crimes occurred contributing to the understanding of repeat and chronic victimization.
CLEEN Foundation, with the support from Macarthur Foundation has been conducting Crime Victimization surveys in Nigeria since 2005. The primary aim of these surveys is to determine the views of Nigerians on the extent, trends and patterns of victimization and crime in order to develop and implement effective mechanisms to improve security, safety and criminal justice administration.
Other objectives include identification of public opinion on fear of crime; perceptions of extent and pattern of crime in their communities; opinions on the extent of corruption in different institutions of society, perception of the performance of the government and extent of trust in public officials and institutions. This presentation focuses on the findings of the 2012 crime victimization survey and trends over the past three years. These findings are meant to assist the government, police and the entire criminal justice system to develop and implement effective measures to resolve the current challenges of security and safety in the country.
Population, Sampling and Method
This study employed survey research design. The population consisted of all male and female adults aged 18years older from all the 36 States in the country and the Federal Capital Territory. Questionnaires were administered in both rural and urban communities. The data collection method employed was the household survey involving face-to-face personal interview. Respondents were selected through a stratified multi-stage random selection procedure in order to achieve a representative sample. Respondents must have lived in the selected household for a period of not less than six months. A total of 11, 518 respondents were interviewed nationwide between April and May 2012.
The fieldwork for the survey was conduct by the Practical Sampling International (PSI), a competent research company with wide experience in quantitative research in the country. CLEEN Foundation however employed monitors to monitor the fieldwork as a way of ensuring quality control. The data processing was done by the DC Pro-Data Consult Ltd. and was supervised by the research team at the CLEEN Foundation resource centre. Data entry, cleaning and analysis were done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).
Findings of the Survey
The general findings of the 2012 Crime Victimization and Safety Survey in the areas of
fear of crime, safety, victimization pattern and trend, corruption trend, road safety and performance of the entire criminal justice system are presented below. A comparative analysis of results of previous surveys is also made to determine the dynamics in crime over time.
Fear of Crime
Fear of crime refers to the fear of becoming a victim of crime and results of the survey indicate that 3 out of every 4 Nigerians were fearful of becoming victims of crime (75%) in 2012. The percentage of people fearful of becoming victims of crime has increased from 72% in 2011 to 75% in 2012 though lower than 2010 when the figure was 86%. This therefore means that people are more fearful of becoming victims of crime now than they were one year ago. When analysed across States, Taraba State recorded the highest with 99% while Osun State recorded the lowest with 40%.
Actual Experience of Crime
Overall, slightly less 1 in every 3 respondents (31%) admitted experiencing criminal victimization over the past one year covered by the 2012 survey. The findings show a progressive increase in crime victimization in Nigeria from the 2011 figure though lower than 2010 where nearly 1 in 2 respondents experienced criminal victimization. The survey also indicated that criminal victimization was highest in Kebbi State (96%), followed by Ebonyi State (95%), Enugu State (87%) and Niger state (77%), which were all extremely higher than the national average. Lagos State (23%), Nasarawa (7%) and Kastina (6%) all fell below the national average.
Nature of Criminal Victimization
Experience of robbery has increased on a steady rise from 11% in 2010 to 17% in 2012. When disaggregated by States, the results of the 2012 survey showed that Edo State recorded the highest of 63%, Anambra State 47% and Ondo 33%, while Jigawa and Kwara were among the least in robbery with 4% and 2% respectively. The survey also revealed that security in the home is still a challenge as 47% of robbery occurred mostly in the homes of respondents, 24% near the home, 20% else where and 9% in the workplace or school.
Armed Violence other than Robbery
Armed violence entails the use of weapons in altering or extending physical force or power against someone that results in injury, death, psychological harm or deprivation. It encompasses such acts terrorism, bombings, community violence etc. The results of the survey indicated that 5% of respondents were victims of armed violence. The highest occurred in the South-south with 12%, followed by North East (7%). North West central recorded 5%, South East 4%, North Central 3% with South West recording the least of 1%. The survey also indicated that 26% of armed violence occurred in the home, 39% near the home, 15% at work place or school and 20% somewhere else.
Rape and Attempted Rape
Four percent of respondents admitted being victims of rape/attempted rape. South-south and Northeast led the victimization rate with 5%. When asked where the rape occurred, More than I in 3 (37%) of the victims said it happened in their own homes, 34% said near their homes, 26% said it occurred in the school or work place with 3% saying it happened elsewhere. This finding validates the literature on rape, which shows that rape is more likely to occur at home and near home than other places. The challenge of security and safety in homes is explicitly exhibited in rape cases. Respondents were further asked how widespread the incident of rape was and 9% believed it was very wide spread, 27% said it happened occasionally while 54% believed was non-existent.
35% of respondents admitted being victims of physical assault in the 2012 survey. The national average witnessed a maximal increase of 19% from 2011 to 2012. This was principally due to the increase recorded in States like Kebbi (74%), Niger (68%), Edo (61%), Ebonyi (55%), Benue (53%) and Delta (47%). Declines were recorded in FCT (15%) , Oyo State (14%) and Ondo State (12%).
3% or respondents admitted being victims of attempted murder. The highest was recorded in the North East 7%, followed by 5% and North West 2%.
Kidnapping and Attempted Kidnapping
A total of 2% of all respondents interviewed nationwide disclosed having been victims of kidnapping or attempted kidnapping. The South-south had the highest incidence of kidnapping with 4%, followed by South East with 2% with the least being North East with 1%.
Nearly one in every three respondent interviewed admitted having been a victim of domestic violence (31%). There is an upsurge in respondents’ admission of being victims of domestic violence in Nigeria. Whether this increase is a function of spike in reporting as a result growing level of awareness or actual increase in the crime requires further investigation. The findings of the 2012 survey revealed that domestic violence ranks amongst the top four most committed crimes in Nigeria. It increased from 17% in 2010 to 31% in 2012 with South West leading with 42% followed by South East 36%. North East recorded the lowest with 22%.
Theft of Mobile Phone
Nearly one half (47%) of respondents indicated that their mobile phones were stolen in the 2012 survey. However, the national average of theft of mobile phones declined from 50% in 2011 survey to 47% in 2012 survey. Despite such observation, theft of mobile phones has remained the number one crime committed in Nigeria in the past two years, with States like Edo (71%), Plateau (69%), Kebbi (65%), Delta (62%) , Kwara (59%), Niger (58%) and Kaduna (54%) suffering the most.
Theft of Car
Under theft of car, 8% of respondents attested their cars were stolen in the past one year covered by the 2012 survey. The highest incidence of theft of car occurred in the North West (8%), followed by South South (4%), and Northeast and North Central 3%. South East recorded the least with 1%. The survey also indicated that 30% of cars were stolen in victims’ homes, 30% near victims’ homes, 11% at work place and 28% elsewhere.
Reporting of Crime to the Police
The findings of the survey revealed that most crimes are unreported. Just a little above 2 in every 10 respondents (21%) who suffered crime victimization reported to the police. Comparative analysis with previous survey however indicated an increase in the rate at which people reported crime to the police. In the 2011 survey only 16% of victims report to the police revealing an increment by 5% in 2012, which is still far below expectation. When analysed by States, the least reports were made in Sokoto (6%), Oyo (6%), Nasarawa (7%), Kaduna (8%), Plateau (9%) and Niger States (9%). The highest reports were made in Yobe (50%), Benue (43%), Zamfara (41%) and Cross River (38%).
Those who reported were asked if they were satisfied with police handling of their cases. Slightly less than one half of them were satisfied (48%), 39% were not satisfied and 14% were neither satisfied nor not satisfied. Satisfaction of victims has however increased from 29% in 2011 to 48% in 2012. Those who were not satisfied were asked to state the reason. Nearly 2 in 3 of them (66%) sighted police ineffectiveness. Other reasons were corruption (17%), inadequate feedback (12%) and police insensitivity (5%).
Responding to Terrorism
More than half of respondents (54%) interviewed said they were dissatisfied with the performance security agencies in the fight against terrorism in the country. Only 31% said they were satisfied while 13% said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. 33% of respondents suggested that the federal government should dialogue with the Boko Haram set, 31% were of the view that strengthening the capacity of the security personnel will solve the problem of Terrorism, 19% suggested the use of force while 15% believed the use of force and dialogue will solve the problem.
Demand for Bribe by Government Officials
The findings of the survey indicated that there is an upsurge in bribery and corruption among government officials in Nigeria. Nearly 1 out of every 4 respondents (24%) attested paying bribe or being asked to pay bribe by government officials before services could be rendered to them. In terms of trend, demand for bribe has increased from 20% in 2011 to 24% in 2012. The 2012 survey also showed that bribery and corruption among public officials such as police, customs officers, court personnel, tax officials, anti corruption agencies, NEPA officials etc. were higher in States like Kebbi (61%), Ebonyi (50%), Kwara (45%), Ondo (43%), Edo (42%), Bauchi (39%), FCT (37%), Ekiti (34%), Sokoto (34%) and Gombe (34%) which far above the national average. The lowest were recorded in Taraba, Adamawa and Kaduna, which were all 10% respectively. Among public officials who demanded for bribes, the police (76%), immigration (66%), custom (65%), prison officials (52%) and road safety officials (51%) were the highest.
Constraints against Anti Corruption Agencies
Government insincerity (40%), lack of funds and facilities (28%), corruption of the EFCC and ICPC Officials themselves (21%), and weak and corrupt judiciary (11%) were major constraints identified by respondent
Ownership of Firearms of guns
At the national level, 3% of respondents admitted owning firearms or guns with the highest in North East (5%). Half of the people who owned guns (50%) said they use it to protect themselves.
Road Safety and Accidents
The national average for road accidents is 13% with the highest in FCT (39%), Ebonyi (27%), Koggi (24%), Bornu (24%), Enugu (24% , Bayealsa (23%) and Cross-River States (23%). In terms of national trend, there was no significant change as the national average in 2011 was also 13%. Commercial motorbikes or Okada accidents (42%) accounted for the highest form of road accidents in the country followed by commercial mini buses (32%). Most road accidents occurred in the in Afternoon (36%), with 29% occurring in the Morning and 34% in the evening.
On Possession of driving license, the survey revealed that only 14% of all motorists had valid drivers licence. There was however an increase from 12% in 2011 to 14% in 2012. When disaggregated across States, it showed that only 4% of motorist in Sokoto and Katsina had valid driver’s licence, 5% in Taraba, Bauchi 7%, Adamawa 7%, Jigawa 8%, Kano 8%, Kaduna 10% and Kwara (10%). More than half of drivers (59%) did not go through driving school.
Common behaviours exhibited by motorist whiles driving are overtaking by the right side (65%), running traffic light (35%), driving on the wrong side of the road (33%), driving after drinking more than one bottle of beer or one tot (shot) of hot drink (30%), and getting involved in unofficial races with other drivers (24%).
Priority Areas for Government’s Attention
Finally, respondents were asked to recommend one priority area the government should focus on. Crime control (19%), road construction and maintenance (14%), responsiveness to public opinion (11%), controlling terrorism (11%), improvement of health facilities (7%), payment of civil servant’s salaries and employment (3%) were priority areas emphasized.