Offences as reported to the Police constitute a part of the actual crime occuring as there is a considerable number of offences that are never reported: which phenomenon is called the Dark Figure of Crime.




Reported Crime Incidences

Crime Reports in Malta occur through different media and modes of communication. The most employed mode is through calls and visits to the Malta Police as well as through the recently introduced online service.

Click on the link below to report an offence on the Online Police Reporting System.


This Section Index:

The International Scenario

The Malta Scenario

The Dark Figure of Crime


The International Scenario

An international comparison shows that Malta is a relatively safe country having an average of 43 offences per 1000 persons as against 102 for Finland, and 98 for the UK. On the other hand Malta is still far above such countries as Greece which registered 10 offences per 1000 persons.

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The Malta Scenario

An analysis of the last decade shows that since 1998 offences escalated yearly till 2005, except for the year 2001, then initiated a rapid decline from 2006 to 2009 and regained a sharp constant increase from 2010 peaking in 2013.

Contact for more information. Kindly reference the following reference when quoting or using material from this page.

Source: Formosa, S. (2007). Spatial Analysis of Temporal Criminality Evolution: An Environmental Criminology Study of Crime in the Maltese Islands, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom

For sourcing on each page of this site:

Source: Formosa, S. (YEAR as at bottom of page). Title of Page, Aaccessed on DAY MONTH YEAR

Example - Source: Formosa, S. (2016). Figures, Accessed on 21 February 2016

The table and figure below show the offence data increasing from 14,890 in 1998 to 18,578 in 2005 and a decrease to 11,951 in 2009 and a subsequent increase to 17,584 in 2013, which figure declined to 16,648 in 2014 with a slight increase in 2015. These figures take on special significance particularly when one reviews historic data, which shows that crime had literally mushroomed over the decades, currently totalling more in one year than the whole 1960s decade which has registered a mere 14,881 offences (9.7 offences per 1000 persons). This trend takes even more significance due to the fact that the major jump registered in the 2000s reached had already amassed more crimes than the 1990s in total, increasing from 94,299 (1990s) to 162,152 (2000s) and 94,542 between 2010 and 2015.

A trendline analysis shows that there is a steady decrease in crime that would be expected to decline over the next years.

Table: Reported Offences 1998 - 2015

Grand Total


Source: Saviour Formosa (2016)


A 60-year perspective: 1960s - 2010s

Interestingly the rates of change of crimes reported over the decades has seen an exponential growth. The Table and Figure below show such an increase.

Finally, a 60-year offence reporting analysis (Table and Figure below) shows that there is an increasing trend that is consistently growing and may appear to be exponential, increasing from 14,881 offences in the 1960s to 94,299 in the 1990s and 162,152 in the 2000s and 77,404 in the first 4 years of the 2010s and a steady decline in the latter half, followed a resugence in 2010. Crimes increased by 144% from the 1960s to the 1970s, then again by 47% in the 1970s-1980s period and by a further 78% in the 1980s-1990s period. The first major jump in crime numbers was experienced in the 1960s that is also reflected in the number of cases introduced between the 1950s to 1960s where Courts caseload jumped from 12,140 in the 1950s to 163,111 in the 1960s: a 1243% increase as against 31% for the next decade, against a decline of 25% in the 1970s-1980s period (that also saw a turbulent period for Court administration) and an increase of 23% in the 1980s to 1990s. The massive increase during the first decade indicates some kind of trigger in crime reporting: this could be linked to economic improvement, more efficient policing systems; a situation that recommends further future research.

Interestingly, the steady increase experienced between 2009 and 2013 has seen a reversal in 2014 and a slight increase in 2015, which requires further monitoring to ensure that the causes are understood and that the decline is maintained. This, whilst seeking to understand what factor the dark figure of crime is having on the crime report figures.


Offences & Offences per 1000 Persons
1960s - 2010s

Period Offences Reported Offences per 1000 Persons
1960s 14,881 9.7
1970s 36,372 11.5
1980s 53,465 15.5
1990s 94,299 24.9
2000s 162,152 40.0
2010s (10-15) 94, 542 37.7

Source: Saviour Formosa (2016)



Source: Saviour Formosa (2016)

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The Dark Figure of Crime

The data mentioned above refers to those incidences that have been reported to the police: in effect throughout western societies more than 50% of offences (even those designated as serious offences), are never reported, a phenomenon designated as the Dark Figure of Crime.

Crimes go unreported mainly for 3 reasons (Mayhew et al, 1993: viii-ix):
i) they are seen as too trivial by the victim even if serious;
ii) questionable police response together with the intricacies of the victim-offender relationship, and;
iii) the feeling that the police could not or would not want to deal with the offences.

Such issues are being investigated by CrimeMalta for the islands of Malta, particularly an initital 300-sample run survey investigating the Dark Figure, which results serve as a solid base highlighting the fact that people tend to stop reporting after the initial 1 or 2 incidents, repeat victimisation is high, reasons for reporting vary as indicated by Mayhew, but also have a local tinge: the spatial aspect. Persons from different localities tend to report different crimes more than those in other parts of the islands, whilst some victims from particular towns tend to seek retribution rather than report to the police. The next months will see the launching of a larger full survey investigating the Dark Figure.

In addition, an online Dark Figure Survey is being run by CrimeMalta in order to assess ongoing reporting structures.

Kindly on the image to take our Dark Figure of Crime Survey

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