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Violent and Property Crime Increases Per USDOJ
By Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.
Published: 11/05/2018

Violence gun Introduction

There is a new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) of the US Department of Justice based on the National Crime Victimization Survey. It indicates growth for many crime categories for 2016 (latest year available).

There are two reports on crime from the US Department of Justice, one from the FBI based on crimes reported to law enforcement and one based on a national survey of crime victims from the BJS. See Crime in America for a comparison and a review of crime statistics for recent years.

This article focuses on the new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. I occasionally include crimes reported to law enforcement from the FBI for comparison purposes.

Some categories (i.e., property crime) rose for the first time in several years.

Violent crime increased in a variety of categories. Overall violent crime numbers grew.

Recent History

Property and violent crime decreased for 2013, 2014 and 2015 (mostly flat in 2015 for violence) per the National Crime Victimization.

Increases for many categories of crime in 2016 may be significant as to future growth. It’s rare for growth to be confined to one year only.

Violent Crimes

The rate of violent victimization against males increased from 2015 to 2016, rising from 15.9 to 19.6 per 1,000 males age 12 or older. „

From 2015 to 2016, the rate of aggravated assault against males age 12 or older rose from 2.7 to 4.2 per 1,000. „

The rate of violent victimization against persons ages 25 to 34 rose from 21.8 per 1,000 persons to 28.4 per 1,000 from 2015 to 2016, and the rate for females in this age group rose from 24.6 to 33.4 per 1,000.

From 2015 to 2016, the number of persons experiencing one or more violent victimizations increased from 2.7 million to 2.9 million.

From 2015 to 2016, the number of violent crimes increased from 5,006,620 to 5,353,820.

There was no statistically significant change in the rate of overall violent crime from 2015, yet the rate increased (18.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older) to 2016 (19.7 per 1,000). See below for an explanation of statistical significance.

But yes, based on the number of people experiencing violence, and based on the raw numbers of violent crime and specific categories of victimization, violence increased in the US.

Property Crimes

Among U.S. households, the property crime rate increased from 2015 to 2016, rising from 110.7 to 118.6 victimizations per 1,000 households.

The rate of property crimes for the National Crime Survey decreased in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

For crimes reported to police via the FBI, property crime fell in every year since 2012.

Property crimes include household burglary, motor vehicle theft, and other theft. An increase in other theft (from 84.4 to 90.3 per 1,000 households) accounted for most of the increase in property crime.

Crime Reporting Drops

Based on the 2016 survey, less than half (44%) of violent victimizations were reported to police, which was not statistically different from 2015 (47%). Fifty percent of crimes were reported to law enforcement in 2010.

Female Violent Victimization

Female victimization remains higher than males by one-tenth of a percent in 2016. Female victimization reached the same percentage as males in 2010.

Violent Victimization By Race/Hispanic Origin

Blacks had a violent crime rate of 22.3 versus whites with 19.6 and Hispanics with 18.5


Readers get confused by the two measures of crime, one counting reported crime (FBI) and the other using a survey (BJS) to get numbers as to reported and non-reported crime. An overview is presented here to compare both for several years. Summation-FBI-Crimes Reported to Police:
  • Violent crimes decreased 0.2 percent in 2017, property crime decreased.
  • Violent crime increased in 201, property crime decreased.
  • Violent crime increased in 201, property crime decreased.
  • Violent and property crime decreased in 2013 and 2014
  • Violent crime increased in 2012, property crime decreased.
Summation-National Crime Survey:
  • Violent crime rates and totals increased in 2016 but the data was compromised by methodological (data gathering) considerations. A new and revised report shows growth for property and categories of violent crime. It shows increases for the number of people violently victimized and total violent crimes.
  • Violent crime was flat for 2015, property crime decreased.
  • Violent and property crime decline in 2014.
  • Violent and property crime decline in 2013.
  • The violent crime rate had declined for nearly two decades before increasing in 2011 and 2012.
A Revised National Crime Survey

The National Crime Survey issued new numbers for 2016 (released in December of 2017) indicating increases in rates and totals of violent and property crime “but” because of changes to the counties sampled and overall methodology, the Bureau of Justice Statistics stated that there was no measurable difference in rates of violent or property crime from 2015 to 2016,” see Crime in America.

Based on revised estimates (released on October 18, 2018) from the National Crime Victimization Survey, from 2015 to 2016, violent criminal victimizations increased for a variety of categories. The revised estimates replace previously released 2016 estimates that did not permit year-to-year comparisons. See the report (link below) for explanations.

Statistical Significance

Statistically significant is the likelihood that a relationship between two or more variables is caused by something other than chance. Statistical hypothesis testing is used to determine whether the result of a data set is statistically significant. This test provides the probability that random chance could explain the result; in general, a value of 5% or lower is considered to be statistically significant, Investopedia.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics

BJS was contacted for this article but did not reply by press time.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Reprinted with permission from http://www.crimeinamerica.net.

Contact us at crimeinamerica@gmail.com or for media on deadline, use leonardsipes@gmail.com.

Leonard A. Sipes, Jr has thirty-five years of experience supervising public affairs for national and state criminal justice agencies. He is the Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse and the Former Director of Information Management for the National Crime Prevention Council. He has a Post Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and is the author of the book "Success With the Media". He can be reached via email at leonardsipes@gmail.com.


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