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Home | Victims | Victims and offenders | Stranger and non-stranger crime
Stranger and non-stranger crime
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"Stranger" is a classification of the victim's relationship to the offender for crimes involving direct contact between the two. Incidents are classified as involving strangers if the victim identifies the offender as a stranger, did not see or recognize the offender, or knew the offender only by sight. Crimes involving multiple offenders are classified as involving nonstrangers if any of the offenders was a nonstranger. Since victims of theft without contact rarely see the offender, no distinction is made between strangers and nonstrangers for the crime.

"Non-stranger" is a classification of a crime victim's relationship to the offender. An offender who is either related to, well known to, or casually acquainted with the victim is a nonstranger. For crimes with more than one offender, if any of the offenders are nonstrangers, then the group of offenders as a whole is classified as nonstranger. This category only applies to crimes which involve contact between the victim and the offender; the distinction is not made for crimes of theft since victims of this offense rarely see the offenders.

See the NCVS Victimization Analysis Tool (NVAT) for additional data on stranger and non-stranger crime. 

Publications & Products


Criminal Victimization, 2018 This report is the 46th in a series that began in 1973. It provides official estimates of criminal victimizations reported and not reported to police from BJS's National Crime Victimization Survey.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 480K) | Full report (PDF 730K) | Data tables (Zip format 49K)
Part of the Criminal Victimization Series

Criminal Victimization, 2015 Presents national rates and levels of criminal victimization in 2015 and annual change from 2014.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 203K) | PDF (818K) | ASCII file (47K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 13K)
Part of the Criminal Victimization Series

Criminal Victimization, 2014 Presents 2014 estimates of rates and levels of criminal victimization in the United States.
  Press Release | PDF (745KB) | ASCII file (42KB) | Comma Separated Values (CSV) (Zip format)
Part of the Criminal Victimization Series

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

Criminal Victimization, 2012 FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR VIOLENT AND PROPERTY CRIME RATES INCREASED IN 2012 Increases driven by simple assaults and crime not reported to police
  Press Release
Part of the Criminal Victimization in the United States Series

Violent Victimization Committed by Strangers, 1993-2010 Violent Victimization Committed by Strangers, 1993-2010
  Press Release

Violent Victimization Committed by Strangers, 1993-2010 Presents findings on the rates and levels of violent victimization committed by offenders who were strangers to the victims, including homicide, rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.
  Press Release | PDF (1M) | ASCII file (19K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 28K)

Victimization During Household Burglary Presents findings from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) on the characteristics of burglary, with comparisons between households where members were present and not present.
  Press Release | Acrobat file (PDF 352K) | ASCII file (31K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 25K)

Stalking Victimization in the United States 3.4 Million people report being stalked in the United States
  Press Release | More information about this release

Criminal Victimization in the United States -- Statistical Tables, 2006 Presents tables with detailed data on major variables measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
  Complete set of tables (PDF 1.4M) | Complete set of tables - Zip format (Spreadsheet 157K) | Demography of victims (PDF 336K) | Demography of victims - Zip format (Spreadsheet 38K) | Victims and offenders (PDF 321K) | Victims and offenders - Zip format (Spreadsheet 37K) | The crime event (PDF 239K) | The crime event - Zip format (Spreadsheet 46K) | Victims and the criminal justice system (PDF 315K) | Victims and the criminal justice system - Zip format (Spreadsheet 32K) | Series victimizations (PDF 96K) | Series victimizations - Zip format (Spreadsheet 5K) | Methodology (PDF 74K) | Methodology (ASCII file 47K) | NCVS questionnaires | Codebooks and Datasets
Part of the Criminal Victimization in the United States Series

Terms & Definitions

Nonstranger A classification of a crime victim's relationship to the offender. An offender who is either related to, well known to, or casually acquainted with the victim is a nonstranger. For crimes with more than one offender, if any of the offenders are nonstrangers, then the group of offenders as a whole is classified as nonstranger. This category only applies to crimes that involve contact between the victim and the offender; the distinction is not made for crimes of theft because victims of this offense rarely see the offenders.
 
Stranger A classification of the victim's relationship to the offender for crimes involving direct contact between the two. Incidents are classified as involving strangers if the victim identifies the offender as a stranger, did not see or recognize the offender, or knew the offender only by sight. Crimes involving multiple offenders are classified as involving nonstrangers if any of the offenders was a nonstranger. Because victims of theft without contact rarely see the offender, no distinction is made between strangers and nonstrangers for the crime.