The Criminological Observatory at UCPH

Criminological Observatory is an interdisciplinary research unit at the Faculty of Social Sciences. The Observatory highlights criminal trends in Denmark and maps their national and international roots and movements.

Finger print. Photo: Colourbox

The Observatory focuses on what causes new criminal dynamics, who and what drives them, and what consequences they have for Danish society. The Observatory thereby connects the university's criminological research environment to the outside world and builds bridges between them.


The Criminological Observatory builds upon a series of formal collaborations with societal actors and stakeholders working to address and record criminal flows. The Observatory gathers knowledge about changes in the Danish criminal landscape and investigates these by drawing on a range of methodologies, disciplines, research environments and collaborators. Its research is interdisciplinary, dynamic and oriented towards the wider world. At present, this means that our work covers four broad themes:

  • Drugs
  • Economic/financial crime
  • Environmental crime
  • Trafficking in human beings

Based on our knowledge database and collaborations, the Observatory produces an annual report that focuses on Danish crime in a globalised world. The purpose of the report is to inform relevant stakeholders and actors about changing patterns of transnational crime and their impact on Danish society. It draws on both quantitative and qualitative data to provide wide-reaching and substantive analysis. The Observatory projects the criminological research of the University of Copenhagen into social, journalistic and political consciousness by generating debate and contributing to our understanding of current dynamics in critical new ways.


In addition to being available as a knowledge database for both scientific and societal actors, the Observatory functions as a resource centre and task exchange. It disseminates relevant assignments and internship opportunities from stakeholders directly to thesis students and serves as a focal point at the University of Copenhagen for those wishing to immerse themselves in the field of criminological research, carry out internships and obtain guidance for criminological theses and studies. Thus, the Observatory constitutes a crucial link between the world of academia and the wider world, as regards the fields of crime and criminological. We aim to strengthen links between the university's research on the subject and the needs of social stakeholders, thereby ensuring that current research and wider social needs are integrated in the strongest possible way.


The Observatory grew out of the Center for Global Criminology; an interdisciplinary research center studying crime, criminalization and other phenomena in an increasingly globalised world. Affiliated researchers and academic staff jointly seek to further develop methodological and analytical capabilities around these research themes through an interdisciplinary approach to societal problems. The core group of researchers comes from anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, economics and law and is closely connected to international communities in the field working in these and related areas.

The Observatory comprises an interdisciplinary steering Board, which holds regular seminars and meetings on its status and development. The Board is composed of representatives from the Faculties of Social Sciences and Law:

  • Professor Henrik Vigh, Department of Anthropology
  • Associate Professor Jakob Demant, Department of Sociology
  • Associate Professor Pablo Selaya, Department of Economics
  • Professor Ingo Zettler, Department of Psychology
  • Associate Professor Katja Lindskov Jakobsen, Department of Political Science
  • Professor Keith Hayward, Faculty of Law
  • Associate Professor David Sausdal, Department of Anthropology/Criminology Lund University


If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at

We are continually creating new partnerships and are always interested in expanding our data collection and knowledge sharing to as wide a Danish audience as possible.



Name Title Phone E-mail
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Henrik Vigh Professor +4541111430 E-mail
Ingo Zettler Professor +4535324850 E-mail
Jakob Johan Demant Associate Professor +4535321584 E-mail
Katja Lindskov Jacobsen Associate Professor - Promotion Programme +4535333869 E-mail
Pablo Selaya Associate Professor +4535323040 E-mail

Funded by

The Criminological Observatory is financed by the Faculty of Social Sciences


Professor Henrik Vigh
Department of Anthropology