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Response to Screening Questions in the National Crime Survey

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1985
This technical report examines how the current (1981) National Crime Survey (NCS) screening questions National Crime Survey (NCS) screening questions elicit respondent reports of victimizations involving the crimes covered by the NCS.

Generally, the NCS questions achieve their goal, i.e., to determine the number of victimizations of household members for the NCS crimes. Still, problems have been identified, especially with larceny incidents, stemming from asking the household screening questions only once in households with two or more eligible respondents. The distinction between household larceny (which occurs in or near the home) and noncontact personal larceny (which occurs elsewhere) is also shown to cause problems in assigning victim characteristics. Larcenies of parts of cars are discussed as an example of the difficulties posed by the current questioning procedure. It is advised that this study did not address the larger issue of whether the screening questions as now administered, even if they were all asked of everyone in the household, are as productive as a potential alternative format. A sample NCS questionnaire is provided.

Date Published: June 1, 1985