National Crime Victims Rights Week Kicks Off

posted Apr 10, 2011, 8:51 PM by Ronnie V   [ updated Apr 10, 2011, 9:12 PM ]
Today, April 10, 2011, kicks off National Crime Victims Rights Week (April 10 – 16, 2011). Each day this week we’ll feature information and statistics about crime and/or victimization from the Office for Victims of Crimes website.

Interpreting Crime Statistics

Crime in the United States is largely measured by two federal research programs administered by the U.S. Department of Justice: the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS); and the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The NCVS and UCR use different methodologies and focus on somewhat different aspects of crime. Both federal research programs cover a similar subset of serious crimes, however, and use similar definitions for some of these crimes.

The National Crime Victimization Survey, the nation’s primary source of information on criminal victimization, is an annual study of a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of residential addresses throughout the nation. Each year, the NCVS interviews roughly 100,000 individuals ages 12 and older in about 49,000 households. BJS uses the survey results 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 also includes detailed information about the characteristics of the victims, the crime incidents, whether the crime was reported to police, why the crime was or was not reported, the impact of crimes, and the characteristics of violent offenders. The NCVS does not break down results to the state or local level.

The Uniform Crime Reports are based upon local police statistics collected annually by the FBI. This survey covers murder, which is not measured by the NCVS, as well as commercial crimes such as robberies and burglaries, which cannot be measured in a household survey. The UCR reports crimes under two categories: Part I (murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson) and Part II (simple assault, curfew offenses, embezzlement, forgery and counterfeiting, disorderly conduct, and a number of other crimes). Because the UCR is compiled from local police data, it provides information on crime rates at the city, county, and state level. The UCR covers only crimes reported to police—just under half of all crimes. Also, if multiple crimes are reported in one criminal incident, the UCR counts only the most serious crime (as defined by criteria set by the UCR program).

Source: Office for Victims of Crimes website