BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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NCVS redesign
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The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) was instituted in 1972 to produce national estimates of the levels and characteristics of criminal victimization in the United States, including crime not reported to police departments. Along with the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the NCVS constitutes a key component of our nation's system to measure the extent and nature of crime in the United States.

While the survey’s core methodology has been validated over the past three decades, the viability of the survey and its ability to meet the original goals it was created to address are being threatened by increasing costs. In response to these concerns, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) sponsored an expert panel study carried out by The National Research Council of the National Academies to review the survey’s methodology and provide guidelines for options for redesigning the NCVS. The panel’s recommendations are contained in: Surveying Victims: Options for Conducting the National Crime Victimization Survey (National Research Council 2008).

BJS has initiated several research projects that respond to one or more of the panel's recommendations. Westat, Inc., the grantee for the local area estimation project, has released their report summarizing options relating to local area estimation. An additional solicitation for development and testing of methods for obtaining subnational estimates was initiated in FY2010. Questions and answers are also available from a NCVS redesign session hosted by BJS on April 27, 2010. This session was held to discuss methodological research to support the redesign of the National Crime Victimization Survey: Sub-National Estimates.

In addition, BJS has initiated two projects to identify, develop, and test the best methods for collecting self-report data on rape and sexual assault. In June 2011, BJS charged an expert panel from the National Research Council's Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) to examine conceptual and methodological issues surrounding survey statistics on rape and sexual assault and to recommend to BJS the best methods for obtaining such statistics on an ongoing basis. In September 2011, BJS made a competitive award to Westat, Inc. to develop and test two different survey designs for collecting self-report data on rape and sexual assault. One design is to be an optimal design identified by the CNSTAT panel and the other will be similar to designs used in the public health approach for measuring rape and sexual assault. Estimates from these two designs will be compared to data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Please see BJS Activities on Measuring Rape and Sexual Assault for more information on these projects.

Ultimately it is the goal of BJS to redesign the NCVS to improve its methodology, assure its sustainability, increase its value to national and local stakeholders, and better meet the challenges of measuring the extent, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization.

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


Criminal Victimization, 2012 Presents 2012 estimates of rates and levels of criminal victimization in the U.S. This bulletin includes violent victimization (rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault) and property victimization (burglary, motor vehicle theft, and property theft).
  Press Release | PDF (836K) | ASCII file (38K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 48K)
Part of the Criminal Victimization Series

Measuring the Prevalence of Crime with the National Crime Victimization Survey Presents comparisons of victimization rates and prevalence rates of nonfatal violent crime and household property crime from 1993 to 2010.
  Press Release | PDF (1.18K) | ASCII file (55K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format)

Measuring the Prevalence of Crime with the National Crime Victimization Survey NEW BJS REPORT ON CALCULATING THE PREVALENCE OF CRIME IN THE U.S.
  Press Release

Criminal Victimization, 2011 Presents 2011 estimates of rates and levels of criminal victimization in the U.S. This bulletin includes violent victimization (rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault) and property victimization (burglary, motor vehicle theft, and property theft).
  Press Release | PDF (1.8M) | ASCII file (46K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 38K)
Part of the Criminal Victimization Series

New Directions for the National Crime Survey This report provides an overview of a project to evaluate and redesign the National Crime Survey (NCS), which is a national survey conducted twice a year to determine the number and nature of criminal victimizations of citizens.
  PDF
Part of the Criminal Victimization: National Crime Victimization Survey Series

Redesign of the National Crime Survey This report provides an overview of an extensive project to redesign the National Crime Survey, a nationwide, annual survey of personal and household victimization in the United States.
  PDF
Part of the Criminal Victimization: National Crime Victimization Survey Series

Redesigned National Crime Survey: Selected New Data As part of an effort to redesign the National Crime Survey, an annual assessment of personal and household crime victimization, a series of additional questions on offender drug and alcohol use, self-protective measures, police actions, and additional criminal justice system contacts was included.
  PDF
Part of the Criminal Victimization: National Crime Victimization Survey Series

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