U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Criminal Victimization, 2010

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2011                             Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-0556


WASHINGTON – During 2010, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced a double-digit drop (down 13 percent) in the rate of violent victimization, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Violent crime includes rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault. The rate of property victimization, which includes burglary, motor vehicle theft and household theft, also declined by six percent during the year.

The drop in violent victimization, from about 17 victimizations per 1,000 residents in 2009 to 15 per 1,000 in 2010, was three times the average annual rate of decline experienced over the last nine years. The property victimization rate dropped from 127 victimizations per 1,000 households in 2009 to 120 per 1,000 in 2010, which was about two times the average annual rate of decline from 2001 to 2009. During the 10-year period from 2001 to 2010, the overall violent victimization rate decreased by 40 percent and the property victimization rate fell by 28 percent.

These declines in violent and property victimizations continued a larger trend of decreasing criminal victimization in the United States. In 2010, violent and property victimization rates fell to their lowest levels since the early 1990s. From 1993 to 2010, the violent crime victimization rate decreased 70 percent, dropping steadily from about 50 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 1993 to about 15 per 1,000 in 2010. The property crime victimization rate fell 62 percent, from about 319 victimizations per 1,000 households in 1993 to 120 per 1,000 in 2010.

Overall, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced an estimated 18.7 million violent and property crime victimizations during 2010, down from 20.1 million in 2009. This included 3.8 million violent victimizations, 1.4 million serious violent victimizations (rape or sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault), 14.8 million property victimizations and 138,000 personal thefts (picked pockets and snatched purses).

Almost two-thirds of violent crime victimizations occurring during 2010 were simple assaults (2.4 million), in which the victim did not suffer an injury. The decline in simple assaults (15 percent) between 2009 and 2010 accounted for 83 percent of the total decrease in violent victimizations; there was no measurable change in the number of serious violent victimizations during that time.

The nature and severity of violent victimization changed during the 10-year period from 2001 and 2010. The percentage of violent victimizations involving weapons declined slightly from 26 percent in 2001 to 22 percent in 2010. Strangers perpetrated 39 percent of violent victimizations in 2010, down from 44 percent in 2001. The percentage of males who were victimized by a stranger declined from 55 percent to 48 percent over the 10-year period, while the percentage for females remained relatively stable. After a slight decline from 2001 to 2008, the percentage of victims of violent crimes who suffered an injury during their victimization increased from 24 percent in 2008 to 29 percent in 2010.

In 2010, about 50 percent of all violent victimizations and nearly 40 percent of property victimizations were reported to the police. These percentages have remained stable over the past 10 years.

For the first time, males (15.7 per 1,000) and females (14.2 per 1,000) had similar rates of violent crime victimization in 2010. Historically, males have had higher rates of violent victimization compared to females. Males and females were equally likely to report violent victimizations to the police.

As in other years, persons of two or more races (52.6 per 1,000) had higher violent victimization rates in 2010 than white non-Hispanics (13.6 per 1,000), black non-Hispanics (20.8 per 1,000), or Hispanics (15.6 per 1,000). Asians and Pacific Islanders had the lowest rates of overall violent victimization (6.3 per 1,000).

BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) collects self-reported information from victims on their experiences of criminal victimization. The survey provides the largest data collection on criminal victimization independent of crimes documented by law enforcement. Estimates from the NCVS, which includes offenses both reported and not reported to police, complement those from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), which measures crimes reported to law enforcement agencies across the nation.

During 2010, 40,974 households and 73,283 individuals were interviewed twice for the NCVS. The NCVS, unlike the UCR, is a self-reporting survey and does not collect data on murder or homicides.

The report, Criminal Victimization, 2010 (NCJ 235508), was written by BJS statistician Jennifer Truman. Following publication, the report can be found at http://www.bjs.gov.

For additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical reports and programs, please visit the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/.

# # #

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.



Date Published: September 15, 2011