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Victims of Crime

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Description

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) collects information from victims on nonfatal violent and property crimes, reported and not reported to the police, against persons age 12 or older from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households. It produces national rates and levels of personal and property victimization.

  • Violent crimes measured include rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.
  • Property crimes include burglary/trespassing, motor-vehicle theft, and other types of theft.

Terms & Definitions

Age category

The appropriate age category is determined by the respondent's age on the last day of the month preceding the interview.

Aggravated assault

An attack or attempted attack with a weapon, regardless of whether an injury occurred, and an attack without a weapon when serious injury results.
With injury - An attack without a weapon when serious injury results or an attack with a weapon involving any injury. Serious injury includes broken bones, lost teeth, internal injuries, loss of consciousness, and any unspecified injury requiring two or more days of hospitalization.

Threatened with a weapon - Threat or attempted attack by an offender armed with a gun, knife, or other object used as a weapon that does not result in victim injury.

Annual household income

The total household income for the 12 months preceding the interview. Includes wages, salaries, net income from businesses or farms, pensions, interest, dividends, rent, and any other source of monetary income of the head of household and all household members.

Assault

An unlawful physical attack or threat of attack. Assaults may be classified as aggravated or simple. Rape, attempted rape, and sexual assaults are excluded from this category, as well as robbery and attempted robbery. The severity of assaults ranges from minor threats to nearly fatal incidents.

Collection year

The set of victimizations reported to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) in interviews conducted during the same calendar year. This set may include victimizations that occurred in the previous calendar year, due to the retrospective nature of the NCVS interview. Collection year data are used in tables beginning in 1996. See "Data year."

Crime classification

Victimizations and incidents are classified based on detailed characteristics of the event provided by the respondent. Neither victims nor interviewers classify crimes at the time of interview. During data processing, a computer program classifies each event into one type of crime, based on the entries on a number of items on the survey questionnaire. This ensures that similar events will be classified using a standard procedure. The glossary definition for each crime indicates the major characteristics required to be so classified. If an event can be classified as more than one type of crime, a hierarchy is used that classifies the crime according to the most serious event that occurred. The hierarchy from highest to lowest is rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault, burglary/trespassing, motor-vehicle theft, and theft.

Hate crime victimization

Refers to a single victim or household that experienced a criminal incident believed by the victim to be motivated by prejudice based on race, gender or gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. BJS's National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) Hate Crime Statistics Program are the principal sources of annual information on hate crime in the United States and use the definition of hate crime provided in the Hate Crime Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. § 534).

Offense

A crime. When referring to personal crimes, the term can be used to refer to both victimizations and incidents.

Place of occurrence of crime

The location at which a crime occurred, as specified by the victim. Survey measures of crimes occurring in commercial establishments, in restaurants, in nightclubs, on public transportation, and at other similar places include only those crimes involving NCVS measured crimes against persons, not the establishments. Crimes against commercial establishments and other places are not measured by the survey.

Prevalence rate

Number of persons or households per 1,000 who experienced at least one victimization during the year.