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Bureau of Justice Statistics
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Crime facts
at a glance

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Crime and Victims Statistics

On this page:  
Summary findings
About the data collections
Crime Victimization Survey Software
Also by BJS Staff
Selected statistics
Related sites
Criminal victimization
Victim characteristics (female victims, elderly victims, teenage victims...)
Crime characteristics (types of crime, victim/offender relationship,
     weapon use, place of occurrence, cost of crime...)
Incident-based statistics

See Data Online for State and local data on crime trends and homicide trends and victim characteristics

Summary findings

According to the BJS National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), in 2003--

  • Violent crime rates declined since 1994, reaching the lowest level ever recorded in 2003.
    Trends in violent victimizations - Links to full size chart

    Trends in violent victimizations, 1973-2003.


  • Property crime decline through 2002 and begin to stablized in 2003.
    Trends in property crime - Links to full size chart and data

    Trends in property crime victimizations, 1973-2003.

    The NCVS is one of the Nation's largest ongoing household surveys. Survey data tell us how many rapes, sexual assaults, robberies, assaults, thefts, household burglaries, and motor vehicle thefts U.S. residents age 12 or older and their households experience each year.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports,--

  • The crime index rate decreased 1% from 2001 to 2002. From 1993 to 2002 the rate fell 26%.

    The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports Program (UCR) collects information from local law enforcement agencies about crimes reported to police. The UCR crime index includes seven offenses; homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft.

For more information about the purposes and advantages of the UCR and the NCVS, see The Nation's Two Crime Measures.

See also Data Online and Homicide Trends in the United States for additional UCR data.

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BJS criminal victimization data collections

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 42,000 households comprising nearly 76,000 persons on the frequency, characteristics and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States. The survey enables BJS to estimate the likelihood of victimization by rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault, theft, household burglary, and motor vehicle theft for the population as a whole as well as for segments of the population such as women, the elderly, members of various racial groups, city dwellers, or other groups. The NCVS provides the largest national forum for victims to describe the impact of crime and characteristics of violent offenders.
Ongoing from 1973; Redesign 1992.

Redesign of the National Crime Victimization Survey

NCVS survey instruments (in Acrobat format):
National Crime Victimization Survey, 5/01 version, (187K)
NCVS Crime Incident Report, 10/01 version, (169K)
Police Public Contact Survey: A Supplement to the NCVS (169K)
NCVS survey instruments used to interview Spanish speaking respondents.
National Crime Victimization Survey, 6/01 version, (221K)
NCVS Crime Incident Report, 7/01 version, (196K)

NCVS Interviewing Manual for Field Representatives: Acrobat file (2.2M) | ASCII text (1.1M)

Help for using BJS products

Codebooks and datasets

City-level survey of crime victimization and citizen attitudes. BJS in a joint effort with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) conducted victimization surveys in 12 selected cities. The standard National Crime Victimization Survey instrument was used with questions about citizen perceptions of community policing and neighborhood issues. All sampled household residents age 12 or older were included in the survey. Participating cities were -- Chicago, IL, Kansas City, MO, Knoxville, TN, Los Angeles, CA, Madison, WI, New York, NY, San Diego, CA, Savannah, GA, Spokane, WA, Springfield, MA, Tucson, AZ, Washington, DC.

Emergency Room Statistics on Intentional Violence collects data on intentional injuries, such as domestic violence, rape, and child abuse, from a national sample of hospital emergency rooms. Through the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, information is obtained on characteristics of the victim and perpetrator, victim-perpetrator relationship, alcohol/drug involvement in the incident, and description of circumstances of injury.

2001 Computer Security Survey pilot study
Conducted among 500 sample companies, this study tested the feasibility and utility of measuring nationwide the nature, extent, and consequences of cybercrime against businesses. The pilot survey collected data on type and prevalence of computer security incidents such as computer viruses, denial of service attacks, and fraud, and the resulting monetary losses and downtime. The pilot also collected information on computer systems and computer security measures used by businesses, whether offenders were company employees, whether incidents were reported to authorities, and details of the most significant incident. The pilot demonstrates that responding companies were able to report most or all of the data, but many companies did not respond. These results were used to redesign the survey. The redesigned survey, the first national study of cybercrime against businesses, will be sent to a sample of 36,000 companies to produce estimates statistically representative of the nation and self-representative of economic industries.

Computer Security Survey instruments (in Acrobat format):
2001 Computer Security Survey, 7/02 version, (92K)
2001 Computer Security Survey: Alternate 7/02 version, (91K)
2001 Computer Crime Survey Instructions, 8/02 version, (49K)

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Crime Victimization Survey Software

BJS and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) developed a software program for localities to conduct their own telephone surveys of residents to collect data on crime victimization, attitudes toward policing, and other community-related issues.

Crime Victimization Survey Software (CVS), Version 1.3 is now available.

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Also by BJS staff

Rand, Michael, R. and Callie Marie Rennison "True Crime Stories? Accounting for Differences in our National Crime Indicators" Chance, Vol. 15 No. 1, 2002
   Acrobat file (261K) | ASCII file (23K)

   Help for using Acrobat files

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Selected statistics

Criminal Victimization in the United States - Statistical tables
in spreadsheet and portable document format files. Subjects include:

  • Demography of victims
  • Victims and offenders
  • Geography
  • The crime event
  • Victims and the criminal justice system

1996-2002 data are currently available, 12/03

To find tables using keywords, see the Table index.

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Related sites

BJS home page | Top of this page

Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Page last revised on September 12, 2004