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Publication Third-Party Involvement in Violent Crime, 1993-99

Michael Planty, Ph.D.

July 1, 2002    NCJ 189100

Presents detailed information about third-party involvement in violent crime, using the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Third parties are persons other than the offender(s) and lone victim interviewed. Third parties include bystanders, other victims, household members, police officers, instigators, or any combination of these. Third parties may play a role in the formation and escalation of violence, may intervene to stop an assault, or may be an eyewitness. Data include how the actions of third parties may influence the outcome of events (prevent or cause additional injury, help the victim escape, help capture the offender, etc.). The report covers the prevalence of third party involvement in violent crime, and characteristics related to the victim, offender, location, and weapon use.


  • About a third of all intimate partner violence occurred in the presence of a third party compared to about two-thirds of violence between strangers or other acquaintances.
  • On average each year, 1993-99, third-party actions prevented injuries in 1.2 million violent victimizations.
  • Third parties were present during two-thirds of all violent victimizations between 1993-99.

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National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

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