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Home | Victims | Victims and offenders | Stranger and non-stranger crime
Stranger and non-stranger crime
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About this Topic

"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, 2019 This report is the 47th 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 (30K) | Summary (PDF 197K) | Full report (PDF 1.4K) | Data tables (Zip format 78K)
Part of the Criminal Victimization Series

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 (199K) | Summary (PDF 480K) | Full report (PDF 730K) | Data tables (Zip format 49K) | Supplemental Tables (PDF 100K)
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) | Full report (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 | Full report (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 | Full report (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 | Full report (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

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.