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National Crime Victimization Survey


The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is the nation's primary source of information on criminal victimization. Each year data are obtained from a nationally representative sample of households on the frequency, characteristics and consequences of criminal victimization. These data are used to estimate the likelihood of victimization by rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault, theft, household burglary, and motor vehicle theft for the population as a whole and for population subgroups.

Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics
Data Years Available: 
Mode of Collection: 
In person and telephone interviews.
Selected Content: 
Demographic characteristics; reports of incidents of criminal victimization.
Population Covered: 
The U.S. resident population aged 12 years and older.

Each housing unit selected for NCVS remains in the sample for three years, with seven interviews taking place at 6-month intervals. The first interviewer contact with the household is in-person. Subsequent interviews may be conducted by telephone. To elicit more accurate reporting of incidents, NCVS directly interviews each person 12 years or older in the household; proxy interviews may be used for incapacitated persons or for other special situations. The survey sample is derived from a stratified, multi-stage cluster sample. Data are weighted and adjusted for non-response. Further adjustments are made to cases where an incident involved more than one victim. (For more information, see "Survey Methodology for Criminal Victimization in the United States." Available at:

Response Rates and Sample Size: 

Each year data are obtained from a nationally representative sample of 76,000 households comprising nearly 135,000 persons.

Interpretation Issues: