The Economic and Social Council, in its resolution 1984/48 of 25 May 1984, requested that the Secretary-General maintain and develop the United Nations crime-related database by continuing to conduct surveys of crime trends and the operations of criminal justice systems. The major goal of the United Nations Surveys on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems is to collect data on the incidence of reported crime and the operations of criminal justice systems in line with the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes (ICCS). The survey results provide an overview of trends and interrelationships between various parts of the criminal justice system to promote informed decision-making in administration, nationally and internationally.
Crime statistics reported through the UN-CTS mostly refer to reported and/or detected crime and therefore caution should be used in interpreting these data and when carrying out cross-country comparisons. The data collected with the UN-CTS are disseminated on UNODC Data Portal. Some of the data are also used to monitor progress towards eight SDG targets and presented in several analytical publications, such as the Global Study on Homicide or short research briefs included in the Data Matters series.
The UN-CTS rely on a network of national focal points responsible for compiling and submitting the questionnaire to UNODC. Their work is the cornerstone of international statistics on crime and criminal justice. The UN-CTS Focal Point, appointed by each Member State, is the primary technical point of contact with UNODC regarding the compilation and submission of the questionnaire to ensure, as far as possible, a timely, accurate and complete response. Focal Points should be technical practitioners working in a national agency with responsibility for crime and criminal justice statistics in the country (e.g. Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice or National Statistical Office). Where no Focal Point has been appointed, Member States are encouraged to appoint a specific institution and person(s) for such role. Where this is not done, the Permanent Mission remains the responsible entity to ensure management of the data collection from relevant national agencies and submission to UNODC.
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