Like discussion groups, direct observation and literature reviews, semi-structured interviews can be used to gather qualitative information. Interviews of this type are suited to working with small samples and are effective for studying specific situations or for supplementing and validating information derived from other sources used for making safety diagnoses. In addition, since they provide access to perceptions and opinions, they are useful for gaining insight into problems that are not perceptible immediately or are more difficult to observe, but that nonetheless cause concern in certain areas or in certain segments of the population.
During safety diagnoses, semi-structured interviews should be used to explore crime and safety problems perceived by representatives of the population, safety experts or other key informants. In planning the interviews, it is essential to take into account decisions about your vision and objectives, the life setting under study, the target population and the topics to be discussed. We suggest that the interviews focus on the following topics in particular: crime and victimization, disorder and incivility (nuisances), the perception of safety or the feeling of safety and the assessment of public services.