Personal victimization variable descriptions
Table of contents
The respondent's age on the last day of the month before the interview. The NCVS collects information on household members age 12 or older.
Personal victimization includes all violent victimization, rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault, and personal theft. This category includes both attempted and completed crimes. Violent victimization is defined as rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, or simple assault. Murder is not measured by the NCVS because of an inability to question the victim. Personal theft/larceny includes purse-snatching or pocket-picking.
A classification based on Hispanic culture and origin, without considering race.
The total income of the household head and all members of the household for the 12 months preceding the interview. Includes wages, salaries, net income from businesses or farms, pensions, interest, dividends, rent, and any other form of monetary income.
A measure of whether bodily hurt or damage was sustained by a victim as a result of criminal victimization. This applies only to personal victimization where there was contact between the victim and the offender. The types of injuries suffered are used to distinguish between serious and minor assaults. Serious injuries include knife or gunshot wounds, broken bones, loss of teeth, and loss of consciousness. A completed rape is classified as a serious injury. Minor injuries include bruises, black eyes, cuts, scratches, and swelling. Other injuries that can't be identified as serious or minor are distinguished by the amount of hospitalization required. Injuries suffered from an attack during a crime incident include any and all physical (bodily) damage experienced by the victim, such as broken bones, bruises, cuts, internal injuries, and so on. Emotional and psychological trauma are not included.
A measure of where the victimization occurred. This is asked of victims of both personal and household victimization. The locations include at or near the victim's home; at or near a friend, neighbor, or relative's home; at a commercial place; in a parking lot or garage; in other public areas (i.e., in open areas, on the street, or on public transportation); at school; or somewhere else.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines location of residence using metropolitan statistical areas (MSA), which contain a population nucleus of 50,000 or more, generally consisting of a city and its immediate suburbs, along with adjacent communities having a high degree of economic and social integration with the nucleus. MSAs are designated by counties, the smallest geographic units for which a wide range of statistical data can be attained. However, in New England, MSAs are designated by cities and towns because these subcounty units are of great local significance and considerable data are available for them. Currently, an area is defined as an MSA if it meets one of two standards: (1) a city has a population of at least 50,000 residents, and (2) the Census Bureau defines an urbanized area of at least 50,000 people with a total metropolitan population of at least 100,000 (or 75,000 in New England). The Census Bureau's definition of urbanized areas, data on commuting to work, and the strength of the economic and social ties between the surrounding counties and the central city determine which counties not containing a main city are included in an MSA. For New England, MSAs are determined by a core area and related cities and towns, not counties. An MSA may contain more than one city of 50,000 residents and may cross state lines. The descriptions of values on the location of residence variable have changed to better reflect what is being measured.
One of the following classifications (1) married, which includes persons in common-law unions and those who are currently living apart for reasons other than marital discord (e.g., employment and military service); (2) separated or divorced, which includes married persons who are legally separated and those who are not living together because of marital discord; (3) widowed; and (4) never married, which includes persons whose marriages have been annulled and those who are living together and not in a common-law union.
Victims who were injured during an incident are asked whether they received any medical care for their injuries. Medical care includes treatment rendered by trained professionals, paraprofessionals, non-professionals, and self-treatment.
The size range for the place in which the housing unit is located. "Not a place" is a concentration of population that is either not legally bounded as an incorporated place having an active government or not delineated for statistical purposes as a census designated place with definite geographic boundaries, such as a city, town, or village.
A measure of whether a weapon was present during the victimization. The respondent is asked whether the offender had a weapon. Weapons include items such as guns, knives, and other objects that are used as weapons (e.g., rocks and clubs). This applies only to personal victimizations where there was contact between the victim and the offender. By definition neither simple assault nor personal theft involves a weapon. To calculate the person victimization rate by weapon use, use the total person population as the denominator.
Racial categories are defined by the Office of Management and Budget. Beginning in 2003, BJS implemented methodological changes to reflect new guidelines from the Office of Management and Budget for the collection and reporting of race and ethnicity data in government surveys. This caused changes to the other race category. Prior to 2003, the other race category included American Indian/Aleut Eskimo, Asian/Pacific Islander, and other races. Since 2003, the other race category has included American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, Other races, and two or more races.
Racial categories are defined by the Office of Management and Budget. Beginning in 2003, BJS implemented methodological changes to reflect new guidelines from the Office of Management and Budget for the collection and reporting of race and ethnicity data in government surveys. This caused changes to the non-Hispanic other race category. Prior to 2003, the non-Hispanic other race category included non-Hispanic American Indian/Aleut Eskimo, non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander, and non-Hispanic other races. Since 2003, the non-Hispanic other race category has included non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native, non-Hispanic Asian, non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic Other races, and non-Hispanic two or more races.
The states have been divided into four groups or census regions: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West. The Northeast includes the 9 states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Midwest includes the 12 states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The South includes the District of Columbia and the 16 states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The West includes the 13 states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Specifies whether the crime was reported to police. To calculate the household victimization rate by reporting to the police, use the total household population as the denominator.
The respondent's sex.
Personal victimization includes all violent victimization, rape, sexual assault, personal robbery, assault, and personal theft. This category includes both attempted and completed crimes. Violent victimization includes rape, sexual assault, personal robbery, or assault. Murder is not measured by the NCVS because of an inability to question the victim.
Rape: Unlawful penetration of a person against the will of the victim, with use or threatened use of force, or attempting such an act. Includes psychological coercion and physical force. Forced sexual intercourse means vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by the offender. Also includes incidents where penetration is from a foreign object, such as a bottle. Includes male and female victims, and both heterosexual and homosexual rape. Attempted rape includes verbal threats of rape. (Rape and sexual assault are combined into one victimization measure.)
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 grabbing or fondling. Sexual assault also includes verbal threats. (Rape and sexual assault are combined into one victimization measure.)
Robbery: The unlawful taking or attempted taking of property that is in the immediate possession of another, by force or threat of force, with or without a weapon, and with or without injury.
Aggravated Assault: An attack or attempted attack with a weapon, regardless of whether the victim is injured, or an attack without a weapon when serious injury results.
Simple Assault: An attack or attempted attack without a weapon that results in either no injury, minor injury (e.g., bruises, black eyes, cuts, scratches, or swelling) or an undetermined injury requiring less than 2 days of hospitalization.
Personal theft: Includes purse-snatching or pocket-picking, which is the theft or attempted theft of property or cash directly from the victim by stealth, without force or threat of force
A measure of whether victims received any help or advice from victim service agencies. This is asked of victims of both personal and household victimization. Victim service agencies are publicly or privately funded organizations that provide victims with support and services to aid their physical and emotional recovery, offer protection from future victimizations, guide them through the criminal justice system process, and assist them in obtaining restitution.
A classification of a crime victim's relationship to the offender for crimes involving direct contact between the two. For the analysis tool, this applies to crimes that involve contact between the victim and the offender (personal victimization). This distinction is not made for household victimization. To calculate the person victimization rate by victim-offender relationship, use the total person population as the denominator.
Rape or sexual assault, personal robbery, or aggravated assault. This category includes both attempted and completed crimes. Murder is not measured by the NCVS because of an inability to question the victim. Traditionally called serious violent victimization.
Types of weapons present during the victimization. Weapons include items such as guns, knives, and other objects that are used as weapons (e.g., rocks and clubs). To calculate the person victimization rate by weapon category, use the total person population as the denominator.
Year of victimization