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National Survey of Crime and Safety (NSCS) Frequently Asked Questions

Description

What is the National Survey of Crime and Safety (NSCS)?
The NSCS asks about people's experiences with crime in the last 12 months, regardless of whether these experiences were reported to the police. It also asks people's opinions about neighborhood safety and the local police. The survey is asked of adults and youth age 12 or older in selected U.S. households.

Why should I participate?
This survey will provide a better picture of crime and safety in communities such as yours, and improve the government's understanding of these issues in your area and across the country.

How was I selected for this survey?
Your address, not you personally, was selected for this study. Because this is a scientific study, your answers represent not only you and your household, but also thousands of households like yours.

How will my information be protected?
This survey is confidential by law. The information you provide will not be shared with any individual, organization, or agency. Your name and contact information will never appear in any report or be associated with any findings. Your responses will be combined with those of others to produce statistical summaries about crime and safety. All staff are required to sign statements of confidentiality regarding all information provided by anyone in the survey.

How are the data used?
Data from the NSCS will be used to develop and evaluate new survey content and data collection approaches for the National Crime Victimization Survey, which has been conducted continuously since 1972.

How long will the survey take?
It will take about 5 minutes to first gather information about your household. The actual survey takes between 15 to 35 minutes for each adult and youth age 12 or older, depending on each person's answers to the questions. 

Do I have to participate?
You do not have to participate, but if you do, you can skip any question you do not want to answer. We do hope you choose to participate. Your household's cooperation is important to ensure we capture an accurate picture of crime and safety in the United States.

Why is this information being collected by Westat and not the Department of Justice?
Westat has been contracted by the Department of Justice to conduct this survey. Westat is a well-known independent research firm located in Rockville, Maryland.

Who can I call with questions?
If you would like further information about the survey, you can contact NSCS Support at Westat at 1-855-917-0263 or send an email to [email protected]. If you have questions about your rights and welfare as a research participant, please call the Westat Human Subjects Protections office at 1-888-920-7631. Please leave a message with your first name, the name of the research study that you are calling about (National Survey of Crime and Safety), and a phone number beginning with the area code. A Westat representative will return your call as soon as possible.

Date Created: December 6, 2021