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BJS Releases two Reports on Measuring Prevalence in the National Crime Victimization Survey

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, a program office within the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, today released A New Measure of Prevalence for the National Crime Victimization Survey and National Crime Victimization Survey: Prevalence Estimation Methods. These reports discuss methods for estimating prevalence rates using the National Crime Victimization Survey. Prevalence is a measure of crime that reflects the number or percentage of unique persons who were victims of crime, or of unique households that were victimized, at least once during a given period.

A New Measure of Prevalence for the National Crime Victimization Survey presents a new method of estimating prevalence that will be adopted beginning with the Criminal Victimization, 2023 report. Limitations of the old prevalence measure are discussed, followed by guiding principles for the new prevalence measure. The new measure is presented, as is a comparison of estimates using both methods.

Title:A New Measure of Prevalence for the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCJ 307554)
Author:Emily Berg, Ph.D., BJS Visiting Fellow, and Susannah N. Tapp, Ph.D., BJS Statistician

National Crime Victimization Survey: Prevalence Estimation Methods is a third-party report written by RTI International and funded by BJS. It evaluates the current method for estimating prevalence rates using the NCVS. Because the NCVS was designed to produce victimization rates and uses a rotating panel design, challenges arise with estimating prevalence rates. RTI compared several alternative methods to determine whether any would overcome the limitations of the current method. Additionally, RTI developed detailed examples to illustrate how each method could be operationalized and what the resulting estimates would look like.

Title:National Crime Victimization Survey: Prevalence Estimation Methods (NCJ 308745) (Third-party report)
Author:Marcus Berzofsky, DrPH, Stephanie Zimmer, Ph.D., and Christopher Krebs, Ph.D., RTI International

BJS funded this third-party report. It is not a BJS report and does not release official government statistics. The report is released to inform interested parties of the research or analysis contained within and to encourage discussion. BJS has performed a limited review of the report to ensure the general accuracy of information and adherence to confidentiality and disclosure standards. Any statistics included in the report are not official BJS statistics unless they have been previously published in a BJS report. Any analysis, conclusions, or opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, or policies of BJS or the U.S. Department of Justice.

About the Bureau of Justice Statistics

The Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice is the principal federal agency responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating reliable statistics on crime and criminal justice in the United States. Kevin M. Scott, Ph.D, is the acting 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 equity and fairness in the administration of justice; assist victims; and uphold 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: May 1, 2024