BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Home  | Terms & Definitions: Victims | Crime characteristics and trends
Terms & Definitions: Crime characteristics and trends

Aggravated assault
An attack or attempted attack with a weapon, regardless of whether an injury occurred, and an attack without a weapon when serious injury results.

With injury - An attack without a weapon when serious injury results or an attack with a weapon involving any injury. Serious injury includes broken bones, lost teeth, internal injuries, loss of consciousness, and any unspecified injury requiring two or more days of hospitalization.

Threatened with a weapon - Threat or attempted attack by an offender armed with a gun, knife, or other object used as a weapon that does not result in victim injury.

Assault
An unlawful physical attack or threat of attack. Assaults may be classified as aggravated or simple. Rape, attempted rape, and sexual assaults are excluded from this category, as well as robbery and attempted robbery. The severity of assaults ranges from minor threats to nearly fatal incidents.

Burglary
Unlawful or forcible entry or attempted entry of a residence. This crime usually, but not always, involves theft. The illegal entry may be by force, such as breaking a window or slashing a screen, or may be without force by entering through an unlocked door or an open window. As long as the person entering has no legal right to be present in the structure a burglary has occurred. Furthermore, the structure need not be the house itself for a burglary to take place; illegal entry of a garage, shed, or any other structure on the premises also constitutes household burglary. If breaking and entering occurs in a hotel or vacation residence, it is still classified as a burglary for the household whose member or members were staying there at the time the entry occurred.

Attempted forcible entry-A form of burglary in which force is used in an attempt to gain entry.

Completed burglary - A form of burglary in which a person who has no legal right to be present in the structure successfully gains entry to a residence, by use of force, or without force.

Forcible entry - A form of completed burglary in which force is used to gain entry to a residence. Some examples include breaking a window or slashing a screen.

Unlawful entry without force -A form of completed burglary committed by someone having no legal right to be on the premises, even though no force is used.

Hate crime victimization
Refers to a single victim or household that experienced a criminal incident believed by the victim to be motivated by prejudice based on race, gender or gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. The Bureau of Justice Statistics' (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), Hate Crime Statistics Program, are the principal sources of annual information on hate crime in the United States and use the definition of hate crime provided in the Hate Crime Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. ยง 534).

Larceny
The unlawful taking of property other than a motor vehicle from the possession of another, by stealth, without force or deceit. Includes pocketpicking, nonforcible purse snatching, shoplifting, and thefts from motor vehicles. Excludes receiving and/or reselling stolen property (fencing), and thefts through fraud or deceit.

Motor vehicle theft
Stealing or unauthorized taking of a motor vehicle, including attempted thefts.

Completed motor vehicle theft - The successful taking of a vehicle by an unauthorized person.

Attempted motor vehicle theft - The unsuccessful attempt by an unauthorized person to take a vehicle.

Prevalence rate
Number of persons or households per 1,000 who experienced at least one victimization during the year.

Property crime
Property crimes including burglary, motor vehicle theft, or theft. This category includes both attempted and completed crimes.

Purse snatching/Pocket picking
Theft or attempted theft of property or cash directly from the victim by stealth, without force or threat of force.

Rape
Forced sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion as well as physical force. Forced sexual intercourse means vaginal, anal or oral penetration by the offender (s). This category also includes incidents where the penetration is from a foreign object such as a bottle. Includes attempted rapes, male as well as female victims, and both heterosexual and homosexual rape. Attempted rape includes verbal threats of rape.

Robbery
Completed or attempted theft, directly from a person, of property or cash by force or threat of force, with or without a weapon, and with or without injury.

Completed/property taken - The successful taking of property from a person by force or threat of force, with or without a weapon, and with or without injury.

Completed with injury - The successful taking of property from a person, accompanied by an attack, either with or without a weapon, resulting in injury.

Completed without injury - The successful taking of property from a person by force or the threat of force, either with or without a weapon, but not resulting in injury.

Attempted to take property - The attempt to take property from a person by force or threat of force without success, with or without a weapon, and with or without injury.

Attempted without injury - The attempt to take property from a person by force or the threat of force without success, either with or without a weapon, but not resulting in injury.

Attempted with injury - The attempt to take property from a person without success, accompanied by an attack, either with or without a weapon, resulting in injury.

Sexual assault
A wide range of victimizations, separate from rape or attempted rape. These crimes include attacks or attempted attacks generally involving unwanted sexual contact between victim and offender. Sexual assaults may or may not involve force and include such things as grabbing or fondling. Sexual assault also includes verbal threats.

Simple assault
Attack without a weapon resulting either in no injury, minor injury (for example, bruises, black eyes, cuts, scratches or swelling) or in undetermined injury requiring less than 2 days of hospitalization. Also includes attempted assault without a weapon.

With minor injury - An attack without a weapon resulting in such injuries as bruises, black eyes, cuts or in undetermined injury requiring less than 2 days of hospitalization.

Without injury - An attempted assault without a weapon not resulting in injury.

Theft
Completed or attempted theft of property or cash without personal contact. Incidents involving theft of property from within the sample household would classify as theft if the offender has a legal right to be in the house (such as a maid, delivery person, or guest). If the offender has no legal right to be in the house, the incident would classify as a burglary.

Completed - To successfully take without permission property or cash without personal contact between the victim and offender.

Attempted - To unsuccessfully attempt to take property or cash without personal contact.

Violence, crimes of
Rape, sexual assault, personal robbery or assault. This category includes both attempted and completed crimes. It does not include purse snatching and pocket picking. Murder is not measured by the NCVS because of an inability to question the victim. Completed violence - The sum of all completed rapes, sexual assaults, robberies, and assaults. See individual crime types for definition of completed crimes. Attempted/threatened violence - The unsuccessful attempt of rape, sexual assault, personal robbery or assault. Includes attempted attacks or sexual assaults by means of verbal threats. See individual crime types for definition of attempted crimes.


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