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Violent Victimization Rates Exceeded the National Rate in 3 of the 22 Most Populous U.S. States During 2017–19; 7 States had Lower Rates

WASHINGTON ― The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is announcing the release of Criminal Victimization in the 22 Largest U.S. States, 2017–2019, the first release of subnational violent and property victimization estimates from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Among the 22 most populous states, Colorado, Arizona and Washington had violent victimization rates that were higher than the national rate (21.6 violent victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older) during the aggregate period of 2017 to 2019. Violent victimization in the NCVS includes rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault.

“This is a very important, first-of-its-kind report that the criminal justice field has wanted for a long time. With this release, researchers can now access the data to investigate different research questions,” said Dr. Alexis Piquero, Director of BJS.

Seven states (Texas, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and New Jersey) had rates of violent victimization that were lower than the national rate. The remaining 12 states (Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio, California, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Illinois) had rates that were not statistically different from the U.S. rate. During 2017-19, these 22 states accounted for 79% of the U.S. population and 75% of violent victimizations.

Across the 22 states, between 34% and 58% of violent crimes were reported to police, compared to 43% nationwide. For property crimes (which include burglary, trespassing, motor vehicle theft and other household theft), the percentage reported to police was between 28% and 44% across the 22 states and was 34% for the nation. Property crime rates were higher than the national rate in 6 states and were lower in 12: Washington, Colorado, Arizona, California, Indiana and Texas had higher rates; Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Florida, New York, North Carolina and New Jersey had lower rates.

“Not only do these data highlight differences in the rate and type of victimization across states, but they also detect a significant amount of non-reporting to police in individual states,” added Director Piquero.

BJS is also releasing the complementary third-party report National Crime Victimization Survey: Validation of State-Level Estimates, produced for BJS by RTI International, which evaluated the 2016 sample redesign to produce subnational estimates of crime and the data quality of the estimates for the 22 states.

The BJS report Criminal Victimization in the 22 Largest U.S. States, 2017–2019, written by BJS Statisticians Grace Kena, MPP, and Rachel E. Morgan, PhD; the third-party report National Crime Victimization Survey: Validation of State-Level Estimates, written by Andrew Moore, MStat, Stephanie Zimmer, PhD, Marcus Berzofsky, DrPH, Marissa Trotta, MS, and Chris Krebs, PhD, of RTI International; related documents; and additional information about BJS’s statistical publications and programs are available on the BJS website at bjs.ojp.gov.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, is the principal federal agency responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating reliable statistics on crime and criminal justice in the United States. Alexis R. Piquero, PhD, is the director. More information about BJS and criminal justice statistics can be found at bjs.ojp.gov.

About the Office of Justice Programs

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law.

More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.


OFFICE: bjs.ojp.gov
CONTACT: OJP Media at [email protected]

Date Published: March 6, 2023