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Measuring the Prevalence of Crime With the National Crime Victimization Survey

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2013
27 pages
Publication Series
Based on results from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) for 1993 to 2010, this report presents and compares criminal victimization rates and crime-prevalence rates; and it also analyzes the differences between victimization and prevalence rates for various types of crime and demographic groups using data from the 2010 NCVS.

Presents comparisons of victimization rates and prevalence rates of nonfatal violent crime and household property crime from 1993 to 2010. The report uses prevalence rates to describe patterns of repeat victimization for violent and property crime and to identify specific population subgroups at the highest risk for repeat victimization. It compares violent victimization and prevalence rates across victim age and sex and according to victim-offender relationships. Data on nonfatal victimizations are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes reported and not reported to the police against persons age 12 or older from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households.

  • From 1993 to 2010, the decline in violent victimization rates (down 76%) was greater than the decline in prevalence rates (down 63%).
  • The percentage of violent crime victims who experienced two or more victimizations during a year declined from 23% in 1993 to 17% in 2010. In 2010, this 17% accounted for more than half (54%) of all violent victimizations.
  • Victims of intimate partner violence (21%) were more likely to experience repeat victimization within the year than were victims of stranger violence (9%).
  • The proportion of household property crime victims who reported two or more incidents during the year decreased from 25% in 1993 to 18% in 2010. In 2010, the 18% of repeat household victims accounted for about 41% of all household property victimizations.

Date Published: September 1, 2013