Vienna, 3 October 2019 - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has published the research brief Measuring Organized Crime: Assessment of Data in the Western Balkans, which aims to improve data availability on organized crime and thus help counter this phenomenon.
"Measuring organized crime is challenging, rendering efforts to combat it ineffectual," said Angela Me, Chief of the Research and Trend Analysis Branch. "A wide range of crimes can be "'organized and conventional statistics rarely capture the involvement of organized crime groups in any given criminal act."
For this reason, UNODC has been working in cooperation with Western Balkan countries and territories to assess whether a standard framework for monitoring organized crime could be developed. The results are clear: even when data on crime is available, linkages with organized crime are not. Although in general, there is a large amount of data available regarding crime, most of it is not stored in a way that facilitates making links to organized crime and enabling efficient collection and analysis.
In addition, most countries do not have databases to record activities of organized crime groups. Development of such statistical systems as well as the Implementation of the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes (ICCS) would greatly improve the availability of organized crime data.
In the process of developing the framework, researchers interviewed a wide range of stakeholders, from customs officers to courts to financial intelligence units and prison administrators, about what data is available and what it can tell us about the nature of organized crime in the region. They found a wide range of information is collected by national statistical authorities but is not structured in a way that facilitates organized crime analysis.
This technical report about the gathering of the data, published on 12 September, will be followed in late 2019 by one that looks at the substance: what do the existing data say about organized crime in the Western Balkans, and what can be said about the response? The report will also contain evidence-based policy advice to support developments in the rule of law, support implementation of SDG 16.A and aid in the EU accession process in the beneficiary jurisdictions.