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.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS) 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 on the frequency, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States. The NCVS collects information on nonfatal personal crimes (rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, and personal larceny) and household property crimes (burglary, motor vehicle theft, and other theft) both reported and not reported to police. Survey respondents provide information about themselves (e.g., age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, education level, and income) and whether they experienced a victimization. For each victimization incident, the NCVS collects information about the offender (e.g., age, race and Hispanic origin, sex, and victim-offender relationship), characteristics of the crime (including time and place of occurrence, use of weapons, nature of injury, and economic consequences), whether the crime was reported to police, reasons the crime was or was not reported, and victim experiences with the criminal justice system.
Number of victimizations per 1,000 persons or households in a given population that occurred during the year.
Percent of person or households in a given population who experienced at least one victimization during the year.
Terms & Definitions
An attack or attempted attack with a weapon, regardless of whether the victim is injured, or an attack without a weapon when serious injury results.
Annual household income
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.
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.