An Examination of the Convergence Between Victim Reporting and Police Recording of Violent Crime, 1973-2002

Shannan M. Catalano, University of Missouri - St. Louis

This study uses data from the NC(V)S and the UCR for the years 1973-2002 to examine the recent covergence between victim reporting and police recording of serious violent crime. For much of this thirty-year period the total volume of crime measured by the victimization survey is nearly doubled that recorded by official statistics. Recently, however, these two trends have converged in a way that suggests that police are now recording all of these crimes reported to them by crime victims. This unprecedented convergence in the NC(V)S and UCR estimates raises important questions regarding public and official responses to crime over time. This study examines the possible explanations for the convergence, including the influence of changes in policing practice, the demographic composition of the population, changing social perceptions of crime, and the effects of re-designs in both the NC(V)S and UCR.

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Updated 05/20/2006