Statistics: Reports of Violent Victimizations

On December 7, 2017, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics released estimates of crime from the 2016 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).

 

In 2016, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced 5.7 million violent victimizations, including rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault. This was a rate of 21.1 violent victimizations per 1,000 persons. An estimated 1.3 percent of U.S. residents experienced one or more violent victimizations in 2016.

The NCVS collects data from residents on crimes both reported and not reported to the police. Fewer than half (42 percent) of the violent victimizations committed in 2016 were reported to police. Aggravated assault (58 percent) and robbery (54 percent) were more likely to be reported to police than simple assault (38 percent) and rape or sexual assault (23 percent). Sixty percent of the 480,940 nonfatal firearm victimizations were reported to police in 2016.

In 2016, there were 1.1 million violent victimizations committed by a family member or intimate partner (domestic violence) and 2.2 million violent victimizations committed by a stranger. There was no statistically significant difference in the percent of domestic violence (49 percent) and stranger violence (45 percent) reported to police.

These estimates of crime are presented in BJS’s annual report on criminal victimization which focused primarily on the level and nature of violent and property crimes in 2016. The ability to compare 2016 estimates of crime to 2015 or other years was limited due to a redesign of the NCVS sample. In 2016, BJS introduced new areas to the NCVS sample to reflect population changes based on the 2010 Decennial Census and to produce state- and local-level victimization estimates, which will be released in early 2018. Among sampled areas that did not change, there was no measurable difference in rates of violent or property crime from 2015 to 2016.

The annual report includes a detailed discussion of changes to the survey, the impact on national estimates of crime over time, and other findings from the 2016 NCVS, including: 

  • Violent crime rates did not differ significantly by a victim’s sex or among White, Black, and Hispanic victims.
  • Persons ages 12 to 34 had higher rates of violent victimization than persons age 35 or older.
  • Violent victimizations committed against Hispanics (52 percent) were more likely to be reported to police than those committed against blacks or whites (40 percent each).
  • More than half of domestic violence victimizations (597,740) were committed by an intimate partner, which could be a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Overall, 1 in 10 victims received assistance from a victim service provider after their victimization.
  • U.S. households experienced 15.9 million property victimizations in 2016, which includes burglary, motor vehicle theft and theft.
  • An estimated 9 percent of U.S. households experienced at least one property victimization during the year. 

The NCVS estimates of crime vary from the crime data reported by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The NCVS includes crimes both reported and not reported to the police, measures a different set of offenses and collects data from residents rather than law enforcement agencies.

The report, Criminal Victimization, 2016 (NCJ 251150), was written by BJS statisticians Rachel E. Morgan and Grace Kena. The report, related documents and additional information about BJS’s statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at www.bjs.gov/.

 
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