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National Crime Victimization Survey Local-Area Crime Survey: Field Test Methodology Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2020
419 pages
This report describes the methodology and results of the field test of the Local Area Crime Victimization Survey (LACS), which was adapted from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) as part of the Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS') efforts to build a program that estimates crime victimization at sub-national levels.
The description of the LACS addresses the sample design, methods of data collection, response rates, and estimation procedures. Survey results were compared across versions of the LACS instrument and with the NCVS and the Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The LACS was administered to residents in the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the United States in 2015 and 2016. It collected data on the criminal victimization of respondents, as well as their perceptions of police and community safety. The Year 1 LACS Field Test sample included almost 230,000 addresses and nearly 94,000 households completed the survey. The overall response rate was 47.1 percent, which was higher than could be achieved with other low-cost data collection methods, such as telephone or the internet. The rate achieved is considered a success. The Year 2 Field Test sample included 217,250 addresses, with just over 71,000 households completing the instrument. The overall response rate was 40.0 percent. Most of the important findings from Year 1 were confirmed in Year 2. Overall, the 2 years of data collection led to the finalizing of a survey questionnaire that is recommended for future local area studies. The main advantages of the final questionnaire are the higher correlations with the NCVS and its ability to capture more crimes unreported to the police compared to other tested questionnaires. The LACS is available for use by states, municipalities, and other jurisdictions. Extensive tables and figures

Date Published: April 1, 2020