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August 27, 2015

BJS releases latest data on crime victimization throughout United States

This new press release from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports on encouraging crime news for 2014 based on one notable metric. Here are the basic data from the press release:

The violent crime rate did not change significantly in 2014 compared to 2013, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Violent crimes include rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault.  In 2014, the violent crime rate was 20.1 victimizations per 1,000 U.S. residents age 12 or older.

The rate of domestic violence, which includes crime committed by intimate partners (current or former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends) and family members was also unchanged from 2013 to 2014 (4.2 per 1,000). Likewise, in 2014 the rates of intimate partner violence (2.4 per 1,000), violence resulting in an injury (5.2 per 1,000) and violence involving a firearm (1.7 per 1,000) did not change significantly.

In comparison, the property crime rate, which includes burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft, fell from 131.4 victimizations per 1,000 households in 2013 to 118.1 per 1,000 in 2014.  The overall decline was largely the result of a decline in theft....

From 2013 to 2014, crime rates varied slightly by region. There was no significant difference in the rate of violent crime in the Midwest and South, while the Northeast and West had slight decreases.  Property crime rates decreased in the Midwest, South and Western regions of the country, but there was no significant change in the rate of property crime in the Northeast....

From 2013 to 2014, there were no significant changes in rates of violent crime across urban, suburban and rural areas.

The full new BJS report, excitingly titled "Criminal Victimization, 2014," is available here and the findings are based on data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Interestingly, while the press release quoted above emphasizes there has been no change in violent crime rate, the first few paragraphs of the full report provides a slightly more encouraging story based on the detailed numbers (and the broader multi-year trends) and highlighted by my emphasis below:

In 2014, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced an estimated 5.4 million violent victimizations and 15.3 million property victimizations, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).  There was no significant change in the overall rate of violent crime, defined as rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault, from 2013 (23.2 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older) to 2014 (20.1 per 1,000) (figure 1).  However, the rate of violent crime in 2014 was lower than the rate in 2012 (26.1 per 1,000).  From 1993 to 2014, the rate of violent crime declined from 79.8 to 20.1 per 1,000.

The overall property crime rate (which includes household burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft) decreased from 131.4 victimizations per 1,000 households in 2013 to 118.1 victimizations per 1,000 in 2014.  The decline in theft accounted for the majority of the decrease in property crime.  Since 1993, the rate of property crime declined from 351.8 to 118.1 victimizations per 1,000 households.

This particular BJS data source had shown an uptick in overall crime in the period from 2010 to 2012. It is encouraging news that this data source is now showing that crime seemed to be going back down again in the period from 2012 to 2014.

August 27, 2015 at 10:45 AM | Permalink


Whoa, you mean there wasn't a "Ferguson effect" after all and that the "Obama Crime Wave" is actually a complete fiction? Shocking...

Posted by: Jim | Aug 27, 2015 11:00:07 AM

SC often cites these surveys to claim the dumb-ass lawyer coddles criminals. Actually, people have never been safer but a comparison to other countries might make us look worse.

Simple assaults? They have to be far more common and have to jack up the overall crime rate considerably. What are they?

Simple assault - Attack without a weapon resulting either in no injury, minor injury (for example, bruises, black eyes, cuts, scratches or swelling) or in undetermined injury requiring less than 2 days of hospitalization. Also includes attempted assault without a weapon
With minor injury - An attack without a weapon resulting in such injuries as bruises, black eyes, cuts or in undetermined injury requiring less than 2 days of hospitalization
Without injury - An attempted assault without a weapon not resulting in injury

One interesting question is how many of these are "mutual combat" arrests where both (or more) parties are arrested? It could be they are counted as crime victims only because the police wanted to "break it up" to prevent any further violence that could result in real crime victims. Should simple assault without injury or mutual combat be counted?

Posted by: George | Aug 27, 2015 3:22:12 PM

George.The methodology of measurement of criminality is the gold standard, as the most reliable and unbiased counting now possible. The United Nations has adopted it, any counts of crime in foreign countries based on it, are not politically influenced and are reliable.

Your concern that the same one violent assault crime is counted twice should be allayed. Households and individuals are selected and interviewed about victimization in the prior 6 months. The odds they would have interviewed other party in a mutually agreed to fight are slim. Over 85% of selected subjects respond, a remarkable fraction for such a burdensome survey.

The Obama administration declared they had "enhanced" the methodology. I do not know why, or what they did. Given Obama's racial animus toward white victims and in favor of black thugs, his lawyer profession training and that of his black racist lawyers making policy at the DOJ, his big government, rent seeking nearly Communistic ideology, "enhancement" cannot be good.

Assume, the results are valid, and not cooked by black racists, pro-criminal lawyer dumbasses.

The most shocking, dismaying fact is the blithe attitude of the lawyer about 1) our having millions of crimes; 2) these are very hard outcome crimes, when you read the definitions of rape, for example, there is nothing left wing, or PC, or feminist, about the definition. Someone used force to penetrate a body cavity, so those millions of crimes are bad, and not mere stupid infractions; 3) the still horrific racial disparity, especially in violent crime victimization, black people are not getting protected by the criminal justice system; 4) maddening labeling of a decrease in crime as progress, as opposed to the goal of ending all crime; 5) the absence of any assessment of the cost to the person, his neighbors, and the property owners in the vicinity of the crime.

I no longer worry about the end of mandatory sentencing. 1) The criminal justice system is nearly irrelevant to crime rate. It is worthless, with its pathetic 2 million prosecutions, and then its total bias in favor of the criminal in those prosecutions. No one cares. Certainly, the criminal does not worry about prosecution. And the dismantling of mandatory guidelines is at the margin of criminal justice itself. 2) One benefit of mandatory sentencing may come from dropping the fecundity of millions of violent super-predators, and will continue to suppress crime for another generation. 3) Technology, such as ubiquitous cameras, or theft proof car radios, may deter crime. 4) The dropping lead level theory of crime suppression has validity. I came to that view after finding a study showing high lead levels among convicts, forming a personal link to crime, and not just macro level correlations.

I would add the following factors, a) obesity epidemic, too fat to victimize others; 2) video addiction, too busy with the X-Box Grand Theft Auto, or virtual crime, to victimize others in the real world. 3) The tremendous value of welfare benefits, up to a value of $50,000 in Alaska and the $30K range in the least generous state, all tax free, too rich to bother to commit crime.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 28, 2015 10:10:20 PM

SC, I'm having trouble writing a coherent argument it seems. My point was, or tried to be, that simple assault could be as simple as pushing someone down on the playground. No harm, no foul, but it is still counted as a crime. High school football is almost nothing but simple assaults with aggravated assaults now and again.

Posted by: George | Aug 29, 2015 6:58:59 PM

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