Repeat Victims Represent 50 Percent of Violent Crime


Repeat Victims Represent 50 Percent of Violent Crime

As a former police officer, we routinely went to homes and locations where previous violent crimes were reported, often involving domestic violence or a non-stranger crime.

The headline above is shocking and needs some context.

National Crime Survey

There is a difference between the National Crime Survey (data reported here) and crimes reported to police agencies as offered by the FBI.

46% of violent victimizations and 56% of serious violent victimizations were reported to police. A greater percentage of robberies (61%) and aggravated assaults (58%) were reported to police than simple assaults (40%) and rape or sexual assaults (34%), thus the need for the National Crime Survey to get a picture of “true” crime.

I am unaware of data on repeat victimization as it applies to crimes reported to the police.

Non-Stranger Crime

We’ve always known that the bulk of violent crime involved people who know each other. Out of 2,948,500 violent crimes recorded by the National Crime Survey, a stranger committed 1,274,000.

We address the non-stranger crime issue because they drive the bulk of overall violent crime and repeat victimizations.

Domestic Violence and Rape

Domestic violence (identified by USDOJ researchers as intimate partner violence, or IPV) and rape victims stand out as frequent targets of repeat victimization.


There are classes of Americans including women, the elderly and the disabled that have higher rates of victimization for many crimes, see Crime in America.

Why bring women, the disabled and the elderly into a discussion of repeat violent victimization? It’s a matter of vulnerability. Offenders prey upon the vulnerable.

It’s up to us within the criminal justice system to identify repeat victims and those with high rates of victimization to provide counseling, victim assistance and guidance to keep them safe.

USDOJ Report

From 2005 to 2014, an average of 3.2 million persons age 12 or older experienced one or more nonfatal violent victimizations each year per the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

About 1 in 5 of these victims (19 percent) experienced repeat victimization, defined as two or more violent victimizations during the year.

Repeat victims accounted for a disproportionate percentage of all violent victimizations that occurred each year.

In 2014, the 19 percent of violent crime victims who experienced repeat victimization accounted for 50 percent of all violent victimizations.

The concentration of victimizations was more pronounced among victims who experienced six or more violent crimes during the year.

In 2014, five percent of victims experienced six or more violent victimizations and accounted for more than a quarter (27 percent) of total violent victimizations that year.

During 2005-14, victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) experienced a greater percentage of repeat violent victimization (33 percent) than victims of violence committed by a well-known or casual acquaintance (26 percent), relative (25 percent) or stranger (17 percent).

A greater percentage of rape or sexual assault victims (31 percent) experienced repeat violent victimization than victims of robbery (19 percent), aggravated assault (21 percent) or simple assault (23 percent).

On average per year during 2005-14, there were four times more female (298,100) than male (74,200) victims of IPV.

Female victims of IPV (28%) were more likely than male victims of IPV (21%) to experience two or more violent victimizations committed by an intimate partner.

There were more male victims (911,300) of stranger violence than female victims (509,000).

A greater percentage of these male victims (12%) than female victims (9%) experienced repeat violent victimization committed by a stranger.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Source: National Crime Survey

Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. – Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University.

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