This Statistical Brief by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) uses 2018 data to compare the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program data on incidents of non-fatal violent crime with data from BJS’ National Crime Victimization Survey (NCJRS) to determine whether arrest differences by race and ethnicity can be attributed to differences in criminal involvement.
An examination of offenders’ characteristics as reported by victims in the NCVS provides information on racial and ethnic disparities beyond an arrestee and population-based comparison. Based on the 2018 NCVS and UCR, Black people accounted for 29 percent of violent-crime offenders and 35 percent of violent-crime offenders in incidents reported to police, compared to 33 percent of all persons arrested for violent crimes. White offenders were underrepresented among persons arrested for non-fatal crimes (46 percent) relative to their representation among offenders identified by victims in the NCVS (52 percent). When limited to offenders in incidents reported to police, White people were arrested proportionate to their criminal involvement (48 percent). Hispanic offenders were over-represented among persons arrested for non-fatal violent crimes (18 percent) relative to their representation among violent offenders (14 percent of all violent offenders and 13 percent of violent offenders in incidents reported to police); however, victims were unable to determine whether the offender was Hispanic in 9 percent of single-offender incidents and 12 percent of multiple-offender incidents, which may have resulted in some under-estimates of Hispanic offenders’ involvement in violent crime. Victims were able to report the race of ethnicity of the offender in 86 percent of violent crimes. Differences in how violent crimes are measured in the NCVS and UCR are discussed. 12 tables