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Criminal Victimization, 1998: Changes 1997-98 with Trends 1993-98

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EDT                       BJS
SUNDAY, JULY 18, 1999                             202/307-0784 

Violent and Property Crimes at Lowest Levels Since Survey Began

     WASHINGTON, D.C.   The nation's violent crime rate fell 7
percent last year and was 27 percent lower than in 1993, the Justice
Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. 
The property crime rate fell 12 percent during 1998 and was 32
percent lower than in 1993.

     Both violent crimes (rape, sexual assault, robbery and assault)
and property crimes (burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft) were at
their lowest levels since BJS began its National Crime Victimization
Survey in 1973.  In 1998 there were an estimated 37 violent
victimizations per 1,000 U.S. residents 12 years old and older, and an
estimated 217 completed or attempted property crimes per 1,000 U.S.

     Murders in the United States declined by 8 percent in 1998,
according to preliminary data  from the Federal Bureau of
Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports.
     During the 1993-1998 period, there were significant decreases
in every major type of violent and property crime the survey
measures, and virtually every demographic group experienced
substantial drops in violent victimization.  For example, in 1998 the
rates for males and females were 32 percent lower than in 1993, and
victimizations against blacks decreased 42 percent.  Property crime
rates during the 6-year period also decreased for all demographic
groups examined.

     Offenders used a weapon in about a fourth of all violent
offenses during 1998.  About 40 percent of robbery victims faced a
weapon, as did 9 percent of rape or sexual assault victims.  Eight
percent of all violent victimizations were committed by offenders
armed with a firearm.

     In 1998 about half of the violent crime victims knew their
attacker(s).  More than 70 percent of the rape/sexual assault victims
knew their attacker(s), as did 50 percent of the aggravated assault

     Almost half of all violent victimizations and about one-third of all
property crimes were reported to police each year from 1993 through 1998.    
Females and blacks were more likely to report violent crimes than males and

     The survey report, "Criminal Victimization 1998, Changes
1997-98 with Trends 1993-98" (NCJ-176353), was written by BJS
statistician Callie Marie Rennison.  Single copies may be 
obtained from the BJS fax-on-demand system by dialing 301/519-5550, 
listening to the complete menu and  selecting document
number 164.  Or call the BJS Clearinghouse number: 
1-800-732-3277.  Fax orders for mail delivery to 410/792-4358.  The
BJS Internet site is:


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

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After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354
Date Published: July 18, 1999