The need for such an index was a result of both the ongoing campaign to diminish violence, as well as the lack of uniformity in evaluating and researching the phenomenon.
The Purpose of the Index is:
To provide an accurate and broad picture of the rate of crime and violence in Israel
To create a single database for government ministries and departments
To help formulate a national policy for effectively dealing with crime and violence
Prior to the development of the index, meetings were held with experts in the field of violence prevention in Israel, led by the Ministry of Public Security’s Chief Scientist Bureau. The Tzafnat institute took part in the meetings, and, led by Dr. Yisrael Katz, Moti Elias, Yuval Fiyurko and Aya Navon, a produced a position paper elaborating the necessity of the index and its benefits.
The national violence index is to be based on current, accurate data, and will use professional and scientific tools to provide a clear picture of violence in Israel, and of trends of violence over the last five years.
The central goal of creating the index is to reduce the disparity between the public’s impression and the actual reality. A clear, detailed index, based on professional statistics will provide a definitive depiction of the situation of violence in Israel, thereby strengthening the public’s trust in government bodies; as well as help provide information on crime on a municipal level.
There are two main challenges involved in utilizing data from official crime reports:
On both a local and international level, there is a lack of reporting of crime.
On a national level, there is difficulty calculating crime stemming from the disparities between law enforcement technologies and agencies; and on an international level there is difficulty because of international distinctions in laws and law enforcement.
Currently, different government ministries and agencies possess different data relating to crime and violence; and the accumulation of the data can help create a better and more complete national picture.
The construction of the index consists of a number of stages:
At the first stage, a modular model is being constructed. Initial data is being collected, information sources are being defined, violence indices from throughout the world are being reviewed, and principles governing the development of the index are being set:
Determining the types of offenses that represent the phenomenon of violence on a national scale
Evaluating the rate of violence per 100,000 people, in an effort to neutralize the distinctions between different sized populations
Determining a base year and calculating the rate of change, in order to track long-term fluctuations
Determining the relative weight of different types crimes, based on the severity of the crime or the economic damaged caused by it
The Combined Model
At the next stage, a combined, modular model is constructed, based on complementary data verified by government bodies, such as the Israel Police, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Welfare.
Charting data collected by the Ministry of Social Welfare – including data not reported by the police (such as location, marital status, age, religion, date of crime, and date of report)
Charting data collected by the Ministry of Health, such as the circumstances of the incident, types of injury, activities involved in the incident and location
Charting data collected by the Ministry of Education, including data on youth violence, based on surveys carried out by the Ministry of Education
Added to this will be data collected by the Research Division specifically for the purposes of the index.
Framework Guidelines for Developing the Violence Index
Narrow Index: Relates to the conventional core violence, and allows for an international comparison
Modular Index: Based on a range of indices relating to major types of violence, and linked to available data (such as welfare, education and health)
National Index: Relates to the national level as a geographical unit, and combines data on violent crimes with public opinion trends – this is the index being developed by the Research Division.
One of the goals of constructing the violence index is to attain the ability to compare between Israel and other countries, specifically fellow OECD countries. After conducting an international comparison of rates of violence, Israel ranked at the median level, and was lower than average compared to other countries.
Due to the scope of work and investment involved in producing the index, collecting and analyzing the data will be conducted annually, and the index and its components will be evaluated by a professional committee periodically.