U.S. flag

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

Criminal Victimization, 2011

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 9:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2012 Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-0556


WASHINGTON – In 2011, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced an estimated 5.8 million violent victimizations and 17.1 million property victimizations, according to a report released today by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). These estimates are based on data from the annual National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) which has collected information from victims of crime since 1973.

Violent crime measured in the NCVS includes rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault. Property crime includes burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft.
Between 2010 and 2011, the rate of violent victimization increased 17 percent, from 19.3 to 22.5 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older. The increase in total violence was due to a 22 percent increase in the number of aggravated and simple assaults. There was no statistically significant change in the number of rapes or sexual assaults and robberies. 

While the percentage change in violent crime from 2010 to 2011 is relatively large, the actual difference between the rates for those years (3.3 victimizations per 1,000) is below the average annual change in violent crime (4.3 victimizations per 1,000) over the past two decades. The low rates make the percentage change large, but crime still remains at historically low levels. Since 1993, the rate of violent victimization declined 72 percent.

The rate of total property crime increased 11 percent, from 125.4 to 138.7 victimizations per 1,000 households between 2010 and 2011. Household burglary increased 14 percent, from 25.8 to 29.4 victimizations per 1,000 households.

In 2011, 49 percent of violent victimizations and 37 percent of property victimization were reported to police. From 2010 to 2011, there was no statistically significant change in the percentage of violent victimizations reported to the police. The percentage of property victimizations reported to the police declined from 39 percent in 2010 to 37 percent in 2011.

Other findings from the NCVS showed—

  • Total domestic violent victimizations, or crime committed by family members and intimates, increased slightly from 1.1 million in 2010 to 1.4 million in 2011.
  • No measurable change was detected in the rate of intimate partner violence (victimization committed by current or former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends) from 2010 to 2011.
  • Increases in the rates of violent victimizations for whites, Hispanics, younger persons, and males accounted for the majority of the increase in violent victimizations.
  • From 2010 to 2011, white non-Hispanics and Hispanics experienced an increase in violent victimization rates, while the rate for black non-Hispanics was stable. In 2011, no statistical differences were detected in the rate of total violent victimization among the three groups.
  • Between 2010 and 2011, the violent victimization rate for persons ages 12 to 17 increased from 28.1 victimizations per 1,000 in 2010 to 37.7 in 2011 and persons ages 18 to 24 increased from 33.9 to 49.0.
  • In 2011, males (25.4 violent victimizations per 1,000 persons) had a higher rate of total violent victimization than females (19.8 per 1,000).
  • In 2011, residents in urban areas continued to experience the highest rates of total violent victimization (27.4 per 1,000), while persons living in suburban areas experienced an increase in violent crime, from 16.8 victimizations per 1,000 in 2010 to 20.2 per 1,000 in 2011.

The NCVS is the largest data collection on criminal victimization independent of crimes reported by law enforcement agencies to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR)—the nation’s other key measure of the extent and nature of crime in the U.S. During 2011, about 79,800 households and 143,120 persons were interviewed for the NCVS. The NCVS, unlike the UCR, is a self-reporting survey and does not collect data on homicide.

The report, Criminal Victimization, 2011 (NCJ 239437), was written by BJS statisticians Jennifer L. Truman and Michael Planty. More information on criminal victimization from 1993 to 2011 is available from the NCVS Victimization Analysis Tool on the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/. The full text of the report, related documents and other BJS statistical resources can also be found on the BJS website.

# # #

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary, 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: October 17, 2012