Victimization Rates Are Increasing

– Or Are They Decreasing?

Are the numbers of new victims going up or down in recent years?

What do the official statistics for 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 show?

The Short Answer Is That  It Is A Surprising Complicated Question!

The Findings From The NCVS and The UCR For Violence And Theft Sometimes Are Contradictory

2017 was one of those yeas when the two monitoring systems yielded opposite impressions. So was 2018.

Also: The Trends In Violent Crime Are Sometimes Opposite To The Trends In Property Crimes, Which Are Much More Common.

Provides the latest figures that can be used to extend the graphs depicting trends on pages 100 and  101 of Chapter 3 in the 10th edition.

Victimologists monitor crime trends in two ways: one is by looking at the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR), which each year assembles the number of incidents reported to the nation’s police departments; and the other is by observing how many people tell the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) that they were harmed by a street crime.

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The FBI is switching from its traditional reporting system (UCR) to a new more granular system that is incident based, as described here.

This comparison uses a hypothetical case to show how the NIBRS is able to record many more crucial details than the traditional UCR, especially because of the hierarchy rule, as described here.

NIBRS Report For 2020

The NIBRS report for 2020 still was based on only roughly half of the nation’s police departments. It revealed that: Most victims (67%) were white; 24% were Black or African American; 2% were Asian; and 1% were from other racial categories. The race of 6.% of victims was unknown. As for the relationship of victims to their offenders, half of the victims knew their offenders  Other interesting findings are documented here.

NIBRS Report For 2019

During 2019, only about half of all police departments had switched over to this relatively new reporting system that records very specific details about each crime reported to the police.

Of the victimized persons (as opposed to offices, stores, etc.), nearly 25% were between 21 and 30 years old. A little more than half (51%) of all victims were female.. Most victims (68%) were white. See other interesting findings here.




FBI Provides An Overview of its Uniform Crime Reporting System 

This system was created in 1930 to piece together an overview for the country as a whole, regions, states, metropolitan areas, and cities and towns. Today, over 18,000 law enforcement agencies send their data to FBI computers, as recounted here.


FBI UCR For 2020: Violent Crimes Up, Property Crimes Down

For the first time in four years, the UCR registered an increase  in violent crimes (up nearly 6% compared to 2019). However, property crimes, which are much more numerous, fell by almost 8% again, continuing a downward trend  that has persisted for the past 18 years, as reported here.

FBI UCR For 2019  

Violent crimes reported to the police decreased by 3.1% during the first 6 months of 2019 when compared with figures reported for the same time in 2018. Property crimes reported to the police from January to June of 2019 declined by 5.6%, according to the FBI’s preliminary UCR.

FBI UCR For 2018

Compared to 2017, the rate of reported violent crime decreased by over 3% during 2018, according to the FBI’s UCR for 2018. Read about the overall decline here.

The murder rate subsided to 5.0 per 100,000, down more than 6% from 2017. Close to 16,200 Americans were slain during 2018 throughout the nation, as summarized here.

The solution rate for murders remained at 62% in 2018. See the FBI’s graph for the clearance rates for all the violent and property crime categories during 2018 here.

FBI UCR For  2017

Compared to 2016, the rate of reported violent crime declined by nearly 1% during 2017, according to the FBI’s UCR for 2017. Read about the slight drop here.

The murder rate slipped to 5.3 per 100,000, down a little more than 1% from 2016. About 17,280 Americans were slain during 2017 throughout the nation, as summarized here.

The rate of reported property crimes dropped more than 3% from 2016 to 2017, according to the UCR data presented here.

The solution rate for murders rose from 59% in 2016 to nearly 62% in 2017. See the FBI’s graph for the clearance rates for all the violent and property crime categories during 2017 here.


The Latest Findings From The BJS’s NCVS (National Crime Victimization Survey)

2020 BJS NCVS Report: Violence and Theft Declined

Violent and property victimizations went down in 2020.

The 2020 survey discovered that the rate of violent offenses declined from 21 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2019 to 16 per 1,000 in 2020.

As for property crimes, burglaries continued to drop.

The police still do not learn about 40% of violent victimizations and 33% of property victimizations in 2020, as noted here.

2019 BJS NCVS Report: Violence Subsided

In 2019, the survey found that the rate of violent crime dropped substantially compared to 2018, from 8.6 to 7.3 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older. Violence directed at women (not counting simple assault) plunged 27% during 2019. About 30% fewer black persons and over 20% fewer white persons were victims of serious crimes, as reported here.

2018 BJS NCVS Report

The 2018 NCVS discovered that “The longstanding general trend of declining violent crime in the United States, which began in the 1990s, has reversed direction in recent years.” One disturbing finding was that the number of victims of sex crimes keeps rising. The question arises whether this increase is real or is merely a reflection of improvements in the willingness of victims to disclose what was done to them, or a mix of both changes. Read an analysis of the annual report’s findings here and examine the actual report here.

2017 BJS NCVS Report

The 2017 NCVS revealed that the rate of violent victimizations rose about 8% from 2016 to 2017.    However, reports of property crime victimization disclosed to the NCVS declined considerably.

The reporting rate by victims of rape and sexual assaults to the police bounced back to 40% of all incidents committed during 2017 from a dismal 23% during 2016.

View the entire 2017 NCVS report here.



Updates and expands upon the data shown in the map (Figure 4.1) on p. 116 in Chapter 4 of the Tenth Edition.

It is no longer necessary to wait  nearly a year for the official government reports like the FBI’s NIBRS and UCR to get statistics about murders in large cities. A comprehensive compilation of data from the police departments’ websites enables researchers to spot homicide patterns and trends as soon as a year ends, as presented here and also here.





Provides details about the overall trend that is examined in Ch. 9 on pp. 332-335 in the Tenth Edition.

Each year, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) uses the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHRs) to analyze how and why men kill women. Most victims knew their killers, and many had been intimate partners. Guns were used in most cases, and African-American women suffered the highest victimization rates. The rate at which men murder women crept up in 2015 and again in 2016 from its low point Read the details here.



Provides details about differential rates of being murdered by race, as presented on pages 120-121 in Chapter 4 of the Tenth Edition.

Using the FBI’s SHRs for 2015, this most recent analysis by the Violence Policy Center reveals that blacks were murdered at a terribly high rate of 18.7 per 100,000. For whites, the homicide victimization rate was 2.7 per 100,000. Overall, for all Americans, the 2015 homicide rate was 4.6 per 100,000. Read about the rest of the findings here.



Expands Table 4.2 in Chapter 4 on p. 115 of the 10th edition, by providing data for 2017, with pictures and details about 50 very violent urban centers.

The 2017 ranking confirms that South and Central America remain the most troubled region of the world, with 17 Brazilian cities and 12 Mexican cities in the top 50, along with urban areas in Venezuela and Columbia too. Unfortunately, 4 U.S. cities appear on this list too: Detroit, Baltimore, New Orleans, and St. Louis, as presented here:

An international organization promoting economic cooperation maintains a database containing many social indicators, include the homicide rate in many nations across the globe. Look up the murder rate for a country here.




In 2019, Hate Crimes Reached Highest Levels Since 2008, FBI Reports

The increase was just 3% above the level of 2018, but the number of police departments sending in data to the FBI fell by 400, as reported by TV news here. 

The FBI’s report for 2019 examined over 7,100 incidents that harmed more than 8,500 individuals, as described in depth here.


In 2020, Hate Crimes Were Up Again, According to the FBI

The FBI’s report examined over 7,500 incidents that victimized more than 10,500 persons, as reported here.



Connects to the discussion of victims of victims of hate crimes in Chapter 11 

Hate crimes directed against people who identify themselves as Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (such as Hawaiians) will be the subject of increased scrutiny. A self-help advocacy group has set up a website to better collect information about attacks against members of this census category, some of whom are Muslims (hate crimes against this religious group are becoming more frequent, government data shows). Scattered reports indicate that the targeting of members of this group(“AAPI”) seems to be on the rise, as explained here.



New Data About Comparative Mortality Rates For 17 Countries

Specifies What Caused Premature Deaths

Furnishes some additional details about “comparative risks” as discussed on pp. 81-82; see Figure 3.4.

Automobile accidents, gun violence, and drug overdoses are among the leading reasons why Americans under the age of 50 have higher mortality rates than their counterparts in other highly industrialized societies, according to a new study. Read the newspaper article summarizing the findings here.

Which Cars, SUVs, and Trucks Are Stolen The Most and the Least Often?

Expands upon the discussion  on p. of Chapter 4 of how different methodologies lead to different rankings of the makes, models, and years of the vehicles targeted most often by car thieves.

This ranking by the Highway Loss Data Institute is based on the reports to insurance companies by victims of thievery who filed claims. But the data does not distinguish between stolen cars  that were driven away (motor vehicle theft) and larcenies from vehicles (petty and grand larcenies, depending on the value of the parts and accessories stolen). See the HLDI listing here.

Updates the list of the most dangerous cities in which to park a car, which appears in Table 5-2 on p. 140 of Ch. 5.

After looking at the list above of the makes/models/years of the vehicles thieves prefer to target, now look at the cities in which they congregate, (most of which are on the West Coast), according to the listing here.

Using 2013 data from the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has compiled a list of the cars stolen most often. However, note that the model years of these hot cars, like Honda Accords and Civics, are rather old – mostly from the 1990s. See the listing here.


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