U.S. flag

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

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) Victimization Analysis Tool

Subnational Estimates Program

Background

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is the nation's primary source of information on criminal victimization.

Weapon category

A measure of whether a weapon was present during the victimization. The respondent is asked whether the offender had a weapon. Weapons include items such as guns, knives, and other objects that are used as weapons (e.g., rocks and clubs). This applies only to personal victimizations where there was contact between the victim and the offender. By definition, neither simple assault nor personal theft involves a weapon.

Users can obtain information about the type of weapon. The data visualization tool uses this coding for weapon type:

  • No weapon
  • Firearm
  • Knife
  • Other weapon type
  • Unknown weapon type
  • Don’t know if offender had weapon

Violent victimization

Rape/sexual assault, personal robbery, aggravated assault, or simple assault. Includes attempted and completed crimes. Excludes personal theft/larceny. Murder is not measured by the NCVS because of an inability to question the victim. Violent victimizations measure crimes against persons. Each time a person is affected by a violent crime, it is counted as a single victimization.

Victim-offender relationship

A classification of a crime victim’s relationship to the offender for crimes involving direct contact between the two. For the analysis tool, this applies to crimes that involve contact between the victim and the offender (personal victimization); this distinction is not made for property victimization.

The data visualization tool uses this coding for victim-offender relationship:

  • Intimate Partners (i.e., current or former spouses, boyfriends, and girlfriends)
  • Other relatives (i.e., parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, brothers, sisters, and other relatives)
  • Well-known/casual acquaintances (i.e., friends or former friends, roommates or boarders, schoolmates, neighbors, people at work, and other known nonrelatives)
  • Strangers (i.e., anyone not previously known by the victim)
  • Don’t know relationship
  • Don’t know number of offenders

Victim services use

A measure of whether victims received any help or advice from victim service agencies. This is asked of victims of both personal and property victimization. Victim service agencies are publicly or privately funded organizations that provide victims with support and services to aid their physical and emotional recovery, offer protection from future victimizations, guide them through the criminal justice system process, and assist them in obtaining restitution.

The data visualization tool uses this coding for victim services use:

  • Yes (Services received from victim service agencies)
  • No (No services received from victim service agencies)

Series victimization

High-frequency repeat victimizations, or series victimizations, are six or more similar but separate victimizations that occur with such frequency the victim is unable to recall each individual event or describe each event in detail. BJS counts series victimizations using the victim’s estimate of the number of times the victimizations occurred during the prior six months, up to a maximum of 10 victimizations. Including series victimizations in national estimates can substantially increase the number and rate of violent victimization; however, trends in violence are generally similar regardless of whether series victimizations are included. See Methods for Counting High-Frequency Repeat Victimizations in the National Crime Victimization Survey for further discussion of the counting strategy and supporting research.

Race/Hispanic ethnicity (Race/ethnicity)

Beginning in 2003, BJS implemented methodological changes to reflect new guidelines from OMB for the collection and reporting of race and ethnicity data in government surveys. This caused changes to the “Other” race category. Prior to 2003, the “Other” race category included American Indian/Aleut Eskimo, Asian/Pacific Islander, and other races. Since 2003, the “Other” race category has included American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, other races, and two or more races. For the National Crime Victimization Survey, respondents may self-identify with one or more racial categories. Also see User’s Guide section on Collection and Reporting of Race and Ethnicity Data.

Race

Racial categories are defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

In general, the N-DASH uses this coding for race:

  • White
  • Black
  • Other
Hispanic Ethnicity

A classification based on Hispanic culture and origin, without considering race.

Race/Hispanic ethnicity

Race and Hispanic ethnicity are combined into one variable in this platform, using the following categories for Custom Graphics:

  • White (non-Hispanic)
  • Black (non-Hispanic)
  • Other (non-Hispanic and American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander; or persons of two or more races)
  • Hispanic

Race and Hispanic ethnicity are combined into one variable in this platform, using the following categories for Quick Graphics:

  • White (non-Hispanic)
  • Black (non-Hispanic)
  • Asian (non-Hispanic)
  • Other (non-Hispanic and American Indian or Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander; or persons of two or more races)
  • Hispanic

Population size

The size range for the place in which the housing unit is located. "Not a place" is a concentration of population that is either not legally bounded as an incorporated place having an active government or not delineated for statistical purposes as a census designated place with definite geographic boundaries, such as a city, town, or village. Population size is not available for years 1993, 1994, and 1995.

The data visualization tool uses this coding for population size:

  • Not a place
  • Under 100,000
  • 100,000 to 249,999
  • 250,000 to 499,999
  • 500,000 to 999,999
  • 1 million or more

Medical treatment for physical injuries

Victims who were injured during an incident are asked whether they received any medical care for their injuries. Medical care includes treatment rendered by trained professionals, paraprofessionals, and nonprofessionals, and self-treatment.

The data visualization tool uses this coding for medical treatment for physical injuries:

  • Not injured
  • Not treated
  • Treated (at scene, home, medical office, or other location)

Injury

A measure of whether bodily hurt or damage was sustained by a victim as a result of criminal victimization. This applies only to personal victimization where there was contact between the victim and the offender. The types of injuries suffered are used to distinguish between serious and minor assaults. Serious injuries include knife or gunshot wounds, broken bones, loss of teeth, and loss of consciousness. A completed rape is classified as a serious injury. Minor injuries include bruises, black eyes, cuts, scratches, and swelling. Other injuries that cannot be identified as serious or minor are distinguished by the amount of hospitalization required. Injuries suffered from an attack during a crime incident include any and all physical (bodily) damage experienced by the victim (e.g., broken bones, bruises, cuts, and internal injuries). Emotional and psychological trauma are not included.

Household income

The total income of the household head and all members of the household for the 12 months preceding the interview. Includes wages, salaries, net income from businesses or farms, pensions, interest, dividends, rent, and any other form of monetary income. Income was imputed beginning in 2015, so no cases have unknown income in 2015 and later. For more information, see Imputing NCVS Income.

The data visualization tool uses this coding for household income:

  • Less than $7,500
  • $7,500 to $14,999
  • $15,000 to $24,999
  • $25,000 to $34,999
  • $35,000 to $49,999
  • $50,000 to $74,999
  • $75,000 or more
  • Unknown (only available for 1993-2014)

Estimate flag

There are two types of estimate flags used in the N-DASH. One is used to flag estimates that are based on 10 or fewer sample cases or have a coefficient of variation of at least 50%. The other is used to flag estimates having a weighted number equal to 0 victimizations, rates that round to less than .05 per 1,000, or percentages that round to less than .5%.

Confidence intervals

Confidence intervals are another measure of the margin of error. A confidence interval around the estimate can be generated by multiplying the standard errors by ±1.96 (the t-score of a normal, two-tailed distribution that excludes 2.5% at either end of the distribution). Therefore, the 95% confidence interval around an estimate is the estimate ± (the standard error X 1.96). In other words, if different samples using the same procedures were taken from the U.S. population, 95% of the time the estimate would fall within that confidence interval.

National Crime Victimization Survey

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is the nation's primary source of information on criminal victimization. Each year, data are obtained from a nationally representative sample of about 240,000 persons in about 150,000 households. Persons are interviewed on the frequency, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States.

The NCVS collects information on nonfatal personal crimes (i.e., rape or sexual assault, robbery...

Victimization rate

A measure of the occurrence of victimizations among a specified population group. For personal crimes, this is based on the number of victimizations per 1,000 residents age 12 or older. For property crimes, the victimization rates are calculated using the number of incidents per 1,000 households.

Personal victimization rate
(Number of victimizations × 1,000) / Number of persons

Household victimization rate
(Number of victimizations × 1,000) / Number of households