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Criminal Victimization, 1996: Changes 1995-96 with Trends 1993-96


ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 9 A.M., EST                            BJS
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1997                          202/307-0784

Property Crimes Declined 8 Percent

     WASHINGTON -- The nation's violent crime rate
fell 10 percent last year and was 16 percent lower
than in 1993, the Department's Bureau of Justice
Statistics (BJS) announced today.  Property crime was
down more than 8 percent last year and was 17 percent
lower than in 1993.
     Certain personal crimes were down dramatically
during the 1993-1996 period: rape, including attempted
rape, fell 44 percent, other sexual assaults dropped
37 percent and aggravated assault declined 27 percent. 
Some property crimes also fell substantially during
the 1993-1996 period: household burglary down 19
percent, motor vehicle theft 29 percent and personal
theft (pocket picking, purse snatching and attempted
purse snatching), down 35 percent.
     "The victimization rates in 1996 are the lowest
recorded by the National Crime Victimization Survey
since its inception in 1973," commented BJS Director
Jan M. Chaiken.
     There were an estimated 2.7 million completed
violent crimes in 1996 (a rate of 12.4 per 1,000 U.S.
residents 12 years old and older), compared to 3
million such crimes in 1995 (a rate of 13.8  per 1,000
residents 12 and older).  There were an estimated 27.4
million completed or attempted household property
crimes during 1996 (a rate of 266 per 1,000
households), compared to 29.5 million during 1995 (a
rate of 291 such crimes per 1,000 households).  
     The data are from the Bureau's National Crime
Victimization Survey, which BJS revised in 1993 to
gather additional information about victimization. 
The 1996 statistics, which reflect both reported crime
and offenses not reported to law enforcement agencies,
are in general agreement with those in the FBI's
Uniform Crime Reports released in early October. 
     Forty-eight percent of all victims of violence in
1996 knew the offender.  Assault, rape and sexual
assault victims were especially likely to have known
their attackers.
     About 43 percent of the violent crimes and 35
percent of the property crimes were reported to law
enforcement agencies during 1996.  Females were more
likely than males and blacks more likely than whites
to report a victimization to police. 
     Rape, robbery, assault, personal and household
theft, household burglary and motor vehicle theft did
not increase by a statistically significant amount in
any year between 1993 and 1996, and the rates
decreased during those years about equally for all
gender, racial and income groups.  Hispanic households
experienced a greater decrease in property crimes than
did non-Hispanic households.
     The survey interviews approximately 100,000
people 12 years old and older in a representative
sample of the national population and measures both
crimes reported to police and those that are
     Single copies of the report, "Criminal
Victimization 1996 -- Changes 1995-96 with Trends
1993-96" (NCJ-165812), by BJS statistician Cheryl
Ringel, may be obtained by clicking on BJS's homepage
on the Internet at:
     Single copies may also be obtained from the BJS
fax-on-demand system by dialing 301/519-5550,
listening to the complete menu and selecting document
number 85 for the full report or document number 86
for the news release or by calling the BJS
Clearinghouse number 1-800-732-3277.  Fax orders for
mail delivery to 410/792-4358.
     Additional criminal justice materials can be
obtained from the Office of Justice Programs homepage

After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354
Date Published: November 15, 1997