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Update on the NCVS Instrument Redesign

NCJ Number
304055
Author(s)
Jennifer L. Truman; Heather Brotsos; BJS Statisticians
Date Published
March 2022
Length
6 pages
Abstract

This summary provides an update on BJS’s multiyear effort to improve the efficiency, reliability, and utility of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The effort had three main goals: modernize the organization and content of the NCVS instrument, increase the quality of information collected and efficiency of the instrument flow, and improve the measurement and classification of crime. The summary also describes progress to design a new NCVS instrument, including decisions made based on findings from a large-scale national field test and upcoming milestones for the implementation phase of this project.

Highlights:

  • The NCVS is a self-reported survey and the primary source of information in the United States on the characteristics of nonfatal criminal victimizations and on the number and types of crimes not reported to law enforcement. BJS initiated a multiyear effort to improve the efficiency, reliability, and utility of the NCVS. 
  • BJS is redesigning the entire survey instrument to modernize the organization and content of the NCVS instrument, increase the quality of information collected and efficiency of the instrument flow, and improve the measurement and classification of crime.
  • BJS, in collaboration with Westat, conducted a large-scale national field test to compare the performance of the current NCVS instrument and procedures against the new instrument.
  • The new NCVS core survey instrument—
    • maintains a two-stage measurement approach in screening and classifying criminal victimization
    • features updated crime screening questions
    • collects expanded information on victimization incidents and victim help-seeking
    • introduces noncrime questions on police performance and community safety.