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How to overcome non-responses (private line and refusal) of a telephone survey such as the Security Monitor? (NOTESUMO : Non respons to a telefone survey such as the Safety Monitor)

Research project AG/II/132 (Research action AG)


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The Safety Monitor is a large-scale, standardised, telephone population survey. This survey came about at the request of the Minister of the Interior and is conducted by the Directorate of the National Database, which is part of the General Directorate of Operational Support of the Federal Police. The Safety Monitor contains questions about a person’s feelings of insecurity, victimisation, the notification and reporting of crimes and satisfaction with police performance. In 2004, the Safety Monitor was implemented for the fifth time at federal and local levels (1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006). In 2006, over 43,000 people were surveyed. The next Safety Monitor will take place during the first six months of 2008.

From the point of view of “Total Survey Error”, it can be said that the current implementation of the Safety Monitor is related to problems involving both coverage and non-response. The coverage problem arises because people for whom no telephone number (land line) can be established are not included further in the data collection process. As a result, the ever-growing group of people who only have a mobile number and those who have neither a mobile nor a land line number fall through the net. The non-response problem is a result of the fact that some sample units for which a telephone number is available are unable or unwilling to participate in the survey.

During the project, a thorough evaluation will be performed of the representativeness of the sample. The impact of post-stratification on the results achieved will be examined, as well as the extent to which the confidence intervals should be applied to the selectivity of the sample.

It is expected that the number of people who can only be reached by mobile telephone will increase in the near future. In order to overcome this coverage problem, an alternative design will be investigated, in which various survey modes are combined. In this design, a postal survey will be used for the group for which no telephone numbers are known. However, they will also have the opportunity to complete the survey on line or to call a free-phone number in order to complete the survey by telephone.

To summarise, it can be said that the project attempts to provide an answer to the new problems arising with respect to large-scale telephone surveys, based on an analysis of the representativeness of the current Safety Monitor.


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