Skip to content

Comprises statistics on offences from the main recorded crime series including arson and criminal damage and from the British Crime Survey (BCS), which covers vandalism and public perception of anti-social behaviour.

Publications

Annual Anti-social Behaviour Order (ASBO) Statistics
Department: Home Office
Detailed breakdown of anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) data by Criminal Justice Area
Anti-social behaviour order statistics, England and Wales
Department: Justice
Annual release of statistics relating to anti-social behaviour orders. Breakdowns provided are age, sex and criminal justice system (CJS) area.
Atlas of Deprivation: England
Department: Office for National Statistics
The Indices of Multiple Deprivation for England combine a number of areas, chosen to cover a range of economic, social and housing issues into a single deprivation score for each Lower Layer Super Output Area in England. The Atlas of Deprivation allows a map visualisation of the overall LSOA deprivation score (rank) and the score (rank) for each of the seven domains by local authority.
Crime Statistics
Department: Office for National Statistics
Crime statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales and police recorded crime.
Deliberate Fires
Department: Welsh Government
Statistics on deliberate fire incidents include data for Wales.

Back to the top

Overview

The property crime chapter in the Crime in England and Wales annual volume looks at the various ways that individuals, households or corporate bodies are deprived of their property. This is either by illegal means (or where there is intent to do so) or where property is damaged. This topic covers the element on damage to property in the section on criminal damage (or vandalism).

Recorded crime figures include criminal damage offences, provided that they have been reported to and recorded by the police.

The degree to which crimes are reported and recorded varies according to crime type. Key factors as to whether property crime is reported are the perceived seriousness of the crime and whether the property is insured.

The British Crime Survey (BCS) provides reliable estimates of crimes against the person and household but does not include crimes against corporate bodies.

The public perceptions chapter in the Crime in England and Wales annual volume contains BCS reports on the public’s perceptions of seven types of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB):

1. abandoned or burnt-out cars

2. noisy neighbours or loud parties

3. people being drunk or rowdy in public places

4. people using or dealing drugs

5. teenagers hanging around on the streets

6. rubbish or litter lying around, and

7. vandalism, graffiti or other deliberate damage to property

Back to the top

Technical Data

Criminal damage (vandalism)

Criminal damage (vandalism) in the British Crime Survey (BCS), is any intentional and malicious damage to property belonging to another. The BCS only includes vandalism of private households and their property, while the police record offences for both domestic and non-domestic property. Damage repairable without cost, or accidental, is not included in the BCS or police recorded crime.

BCS vandalism specifically covers:

  • arson (where there is deliberate damage to property caused by fire)

  • damage to a motor vehicle

  • damage to the home (including doors, windows, gates, fences and belongings in the garden)

  • damage to other property

The police record offences of criminal damage to a dwelling, to buildings other than a dwelling, to a vehicle, and other damage. Figures are also collected for racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage.

Arson and deliberate fires recorded by fire brigades

There are substantial recording differences between arson recorded by the police and deliberate fires figures recorded by fire brigades. The police need a higher level of proof than fire brigades to record arson/deliberate fires. Also, the police record a large proportion of fires to stolen vehicles, as thefts of vehicles, rather than arson.

The definition of arson used in the BCS is deliberate damage by fire to property belonging to the respondent or their household regardless of the type of property involved. The only exception is where the item that is set on fire, was stolen first (this is coded as theft). Arson is included in vandalism to other property and includes arson to vehicles.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB)

The British Crime Survey (BCS) measures high levels of perceived anti-social behaviour from responses to seven individual anti-social behaviour questions:

1. noisy neighbours or loud parties

2. teenagers hanging around on the streets 

3. rubbish or litter lying around

4. vandalism, graffiti and other deliberate damage to property

5. people using or dealing drugs

6. people being drunk or rowdy in public places 

7. abandoned or burnt-out cars

Perceptions of anti-social behaviour are measured using a scale based on answers to the seven questions as follows: ‘very big problem’ = 3, ‘fairly big problem’ = 2, ‘not a very big problem’ = 1 and ‘not a problem at all’ = 0. The maximum score for the seven questions is 21.

Respondents with a score of 11 or more on this scale are classified as having high levels of perceived anti-social behaviour.

Back to the top

Glossary

  • Arson

    Arson is the act of deliberately setting fire to property including buildings and vehicles. In the British Crime Survey (BCS), arson is any deliberate damage to property belonging to the respondent or their household caused by fire, regardless of the property involved. The only exception is where an item was stolen and then set on fire. If a vehicle is stolen and later found deliberately burnt out by the same offender; one crime of theft of a vehicle is recorded by the police and in the BCS. If there is evidence that someone unconnected with the theft committed the arson, then an offence of arson is recorded by the police in addition to the theft.

  • Confidence interval

    Confidence interval is the range of values between which the population parameter is estimated to lie. It is also referred to as margin of error. Surveys produce statistics that are estimates of the real figure for the population under study. These estimates are always surrounded by a margin of error of plus or minus a given range. At the 95 per cent confidence level, over many repeats of a survey under the same conditions, one would expect that these confidence intervals would contain the true population value in 95 times out of 100. When assessing the results of a single survey, it is assumed that there is a one in 20 chance that the true population value will fall outside the 95 per cent confidence interval calculated for the survey estimate.

  • Counting rules

    Counting rules are instructions issued to the police by the Home Office on how the police should count and classify crime. Recorded crime figures are currently based on the counting rules that came into force on 1 April 1998.  These rules were updated following the introduction on 1 April 2002 of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) National Crime Recording Standard devised by ACPO in collaboration with Home Office statisticians. A copy of the latest counting rules is available on the Home Office website.

  • Criminal damage

    Criminal damage results from any person who, without lawful excuse, destroys or damages any property belonging to another. Or intending to destroy or damage any such property, or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged. Separate figures are also published for racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage. In the BCS, criminal damage is referred to as vandalism; that is, any intentional damage done to property belonging to the respondent, or to their home or vehicle. As in the case of burglary, the British Crime Survey (BCS) only includes vandalism relating to households.

  • National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS)

    The National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) was instigated by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), with the collaboration of Home Office statisticians. It aims to promote greater consistency between police forces in the recording of crime and to take a more victim-orientated approach to crime recording. Under the NCRS, where a member of the public reports a crime, the police must record it providing 'there is no credible evidence to the contrary'. Although some forces adopted the Standard early, it was officially introduced across England and Wales on 1 April 2002, though audits indicated that in some forces it took two to three years to be implemented.

  • Offences against vehicles

    A police recorded crime group which includes offences of aggravated vehicle taking, theft of a motor vehicle, theft from a vehicle and interfering with a motor vehicle. Attempted theft of and theft from offences are included in the substantive offence. 

  • Sampling error

    A sample, as used in the BCS, is a small-scale representation of the population from which it is drawn. As such, the sample may produce estimates that differ from the figures that would have been obtained if the whole population had been interviewed. The size of the error depends on the sample size, the size and variability of the estimate, and the design of the survey. It can be computed and used to construct confidence intervals. Sampling error is also taken into account in tests of statistical significance.

  • Statistical significance

    BCS estimates are subject to sampling error, so differences between estimates from successive years of the survey or between population subgroups may occur by chance. This is known as statistical significance. Tests of statistical significance are used to identify which differences are unlikely to have happened by chance. In the Crime in England and Wales publications, tests at the 5 per cent significance level have been applied (the level at which there is a one in 20 chance of an observed difference being solely due to chance).

  • Vandalism

    According to the British Crime Survey (BCS), vandalism is intentional and malicious damage to household property and equates to the recorded crime category of criminal damage. Vandalism shown in the BCS ranges from arson to graffiti. Cases where there is nuisance only (such as letting down car tyres) or where the damage is accidental, are not included. Where vandalism occurs in combination with burglary or robbery, the burglary or robbery codes take precedence over the damage codes in offence coding. The BCS produces estimates both for vandalism to the home and other property and against vehicles.

  • Vehicle vandalism

    According to the BCS, any intentional and malicious damage to a vehicle such as scratching a coin down the side of a car, or denting a car roof is defined as vehicle vandalism. It does not, however, include causing deliberate damage to a car by fire. These incidents are recorded as arson and are therefore, included in vandalism to other property. The BCS only covers vandalism against private households; that is, vehicles owned by any member of the household and company cars which count as belonging to the respondent. Recorded crime includes all vehicle vandalism under the offence classification of criminal damage to a motor vehicle.

Back to the top

Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

Crime Statistics

Email: crimestats.rds@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7035 6823

Home Office 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF

Back to the top