In 2001, the Center for the Study of Democracy developed and introduced the country’s first alternative tool for crime assessment, the National Crime Survey (NCS). Since then, the NCS has supported an in-depth analysis of trends and prevalence of crime in Bulgaria. The findings of the 2020 National Crime Survey, as well as recommendations for improving the performance of police and other institutions in registering crimes reported by crime victims were presented to civil society, media and independent experts in a webinar on 24 November 2020.
During the event, the trends in the most widespread categories of crimes for the past ten years were presented. These include crimes against property (vehicle thefts, thefts from vehicles, burglaries, robberies, pickpocketing, etc.) and crimes against the person (homicides, assaults, threats, etc.). For the first time, the study in 2020 analysed the 112 National Emergency Service statistics, as well as the attitudes of citizens to use the 112 emergency number to report crimes and the profile of people that use it.
The 2020 NCS study shows that trust in police increased in 2019 but remained below the EU average. This lack of trust in law enforcement agencies is also evident from the high share of crime victims who did not report to the police. In order to tackle the low levels of trust and crime reporting, recommendations to law enforcement authorities were put forward in order to remedy this and increase transparency and accountability of the institution. The recommendations included measures such as improving communication between regional police departments and local communities and organization of regular information campaigns among citizens to promote the use the 112 emergency number to report crimes.