BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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FAQ Detail
Why do the numbers vary so much from year-to-year for some crimes such as rape/sexual assault? 

Although the overall NCVS includes about 40,000 households most households do not report any crimes. Less than 15% of the sample reports crimes of any kind—most of these are property crimes. Fortunately, rape/sexual is statistically rare crime, meaning that we do not find many sample cases per year. Findings which appear to be very different may not be statistically significant because of the small number of sample cases.

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