Role of Repeat Victimization in the Explanation of Annual Crime Rates and Trends

Michael Planty, American Institutes for Research

Victimization counts and rates produced from the National Crime Victimization survey (NCVS) are leading indicators of crime in the U.S. According to the NCVS, the level of violent victimization declined throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. Victimization rates, however, do not account for the number of victims. A small number of repeatedly victimized persons may have a large impact on annual victimization estimates and subsequent perceptions of risk for violence. This paper examines the relationship between the annual number of violent victims and victimizations as reported from 1993-2000 by the NCVS. Using person and incident files two research questions are answered. First, for what types of victims (race/ethnicity, gender, age) and incidents (assaults, weapon, intimate partner) is the victimization to victim ratio significantly greater than 1? Secondly, can the contemporary decline in victimization rates be explained by a differential decline between the number of victims and victimizations?

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Updated 05/20/2006