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Changes in Criminal Victimization, 1994-95


SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 1997                202/633-3047

           Largest Drop in Survey History

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Between 1994 and 1995
violent crime--rape, robbery and assault--dropped
12.4 percent, the Justice Department's Bureau of
Justice Statistics (BJS) said today.  The decline
was the largest since BJS' National Crime
Victimization Survey began in 1973.
     Among white residents 12 years old and older,
violent crime declined 12.8 percent.  Aggravated
assault among whites fell 24.7 percent.  Overall,
white men and women, as well as residents of the
nation's suburbs, experienced significantly less
crime during 1995 compared to 1994. 
     Although there was some evidence of a decline
in violent crime rates for black men and women
(down 10.4 percent), the only statistically
significant change for them was a 24 percent drop
in aggravated assault.
     Urban areas have typically recorded the
highest levels of violent victimizations and rural
areas the lowest, but the broadest decline in
violent offenses during 1995 was in the suburbs,
where there were significant declines in all types
of personal victimizations except rape and sexual
     Urban areas had a 10.7 percent drop in total
violent victimizations, compared to a 15.1 percent
decline in the suburbs, and an 11.0 percent
decline in rural regions. 
     Overall, violent crimes against U.S.
residents fell 12.4 percent during 1995, total
personal victimizations declined 13 percent and
household property victimizations fell 9.1
percent.  There were 44.5 violent victimizations--
rapes and other sexual assaults, robberies and
assaults--per 1,000 people 12 years old and older,
the lowest rate since 1992.   
     Among personal crimes against U.S. residents
age 12 and older during 1995, the rate of
aggravated assault fell 24.1 percent, simple
assault declined 7.1 percent and personal theft
fell by 26.1 percent.
     Among household crimes, the rate of burglary
dropped 12.9 percent and household thefts fell by
8.4 percent.  Motor vehicle theft was the only
type of crime for which there was no statistically
significant change.
     Some of these changes varied according to
household income.  Most declines in personal
victimizations occurred among households with less
than $15,000 in annual income.  However, there was
no significant change for any property crime in 
households with less than $7,500 in annual income. 
     Personal victimization rates for the oldest
and youngest age groups declined less than for
those in the intermediate ages.
     The 1994-1995 downward trends continued the
generally downward movement the survey has
measured since 1992.  The total number of
estimated personal and household victimizations
has fallen in each year except one despite
increases in the U.S. population:

      Total victimizations each year

      1992 . . . 42,834,000  
      1993 . . . 43,547,000
      1994 . . . 42,362,000
      1995 . . . 38,446,000

     The number and rate of murders and non-
negligent homicides has declined throughout the
country and in all major cities since 1993, and in
1995 stood at 20,243 such offenses, with a rate of
8.2 per 100,000 U.S. residents.  This was down
from 9.5 in 1993 and 9.0 in 1994, according to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Uniform
Crime Reports (UCR) data.
     BJS's annual crime victimization survey
interviews 100,000 people aged 12 or older about
crimes they experienced during the previous six
months.  The survey includes both crimes 
reported to police and those that go unreported. 
Because it includes unreported crime, there are
differences between these data and estimates from
the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, which are based
on police reports.  The BJS survey excludes murder
because of an inability to question the victims.
     The bulletin, "Changes in Criminal
Victimization 1994-95," NCJ-162032, was written by
BJS statistician Bruce M. Taylor.  This report
presents final victimization data for 1995.  Last
September 17, BJS released preliminary 1995 data
that provided a look at crime trends pending a
more complete analysis of the full 12-month data
     Single copies of the report may be obtained
from the BJS fax-on-demand system by dialing
301/251-5550 or calling the BJS Clearinghouse
number 1-800/732-3277.  Fax orders for mail
delivery to 410/792-4358.  It is available for
news media members only on the Internet at:

     It will be available to the general public
beginning at 4:30 p.m. EDT, Sunday, April 13, on
BJS's Internet home page by clicking on "What's
new at BJS."  The BJS webpage address is: 


     Additional criminal justice materials can be
obtained from the Office of Justice Programs
homepage at:

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BJS97018 (U) 
After hours contact:  Stu Smith at 301/983-9354

Date Published: April 13, 1997