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The Nation’s Two Crime Measures, 2011–2020

NCJ Number
303385
Author(s)
Rachel E. Morgan, Ph.D., and Alexandra Thompson, BJS Statisticians
Date Published
February 2022
Publication Series
Description

This report presents statistics from BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program Summary Reporting System (UCR SRS), both of which measure the magnitude, nature, and impact of crime in the nation. The NCVS was established in 1973 to complement the UCR SRS and measure crimes not reported to police. The NCVS and UCR SRS have different purposes, use different methods, and focus on different aspects of crime. The information they produce together provides a comprehensive understanding of crime in the United States. This report presents NCVS and UCR SRS statistical estimates as defined by each program.

Highlights
  • The NCVS is a self-reported survey and the primary source of information on the characteristics of nonfatal criminal victimizations and on the number and types of crimes not reported to law enforcement. The UCR SRS provides a measure of the number of crimes recorded by law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
  • The NCVS collects data on violent crime and property crime. Violent crime includes rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. Property crime includes burglary, residential trespassing, motor vehicle theft, and other types of household theft.
  • The UCR SRS also collects data on violent crime and property crime; however, crime types and definitions differ from the NCVS. Violent crime includes murder or nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft are included as UCR SRS property crimes.
  • During the 10-year period from 2011 to 2020, the NCVS rate of violent crime declined from 22.6 to 16.4 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older. During the same 10-year period, the UCR SRS rate of violent crime remained steady around 4.0 crimes per 1,000 persons.
  • From 2019 to 2020, the NCVS rate of violent crime reported to police decreased from 8.6 to 6.6 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older (down 23%), while the UCR SRS violent crime rate increased marginally from 3.8 per 1,000 persons in 2019 to 4.0 per 1,000 in 2020.

Date Published: February 17, 2022