According to surveys, people generally have a pretty good idea about how much crime is happening in their neighbourhood. Although people seem to have a failry accurate picture of the crme in their surroundings 60% of those surveyed also thought that crime is rising across the country as a whole - even though the long-term trend is down. These perceptions are influenced by what we see around us - and how we hear about crime.
When interviewees were asked to choose from a list of what most influenced their perceptions of national crime levels, people talked about television, radio, newspapers (tabloid and broadsheet), the internet and word of mouth. It seems the more we read or watch about crime, the more we think about it.
If you are an elderly person then the survey found you were more likely to be worried about crime even though the older you become generally the safer you become.
If you would like to try the BBC crime risk calculator and assess your risk of being a victime of crime click here.
What is really happening to trends in crime?
Excluding fraud and computer misuse offences, in the year ending March 2017 there was a decrease of 7% from the 6.3 million incidents estimated in the previous year’s survey.
Estimates derived from the new fraud and computer misuse offence questions show there were an additional 5.2 million incidents of these offences in the latest survey.
The likelihood of being a victim of crime (excluding fraud and computer misuse) has fallen considerably over time; around 14 in 100 adults were victims of crime in the latest survey year compared with around 25 in 100 adults a decade ago (When fraud and computer misuse offences are included in the CSEW estimates, the victimisation rate in the latest survey year increases to around 21 in 100 adults, but this is still significantly lower than the victimisation rate seen a decade ago.