Violent crimes are shooting up, but victims aren’t calling the cops. What’s happening?

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The violent crime rate is at a four year high. Domestic violence, intimate partner violence, stranger violence, and violent crime with an injury all increased in recent years.

But less than half (43%) of violent victimizations are reported to the police.

Why?

lights_shooting_crime_scene_cruiser
(Flickr)

 

A previous article in Crime in America stated that:

From 2015 to 2018, the total number of violent victimizations increased by 28%. The rate of total violent victimizations also increased.

The number of violent incidents increased from 5.2 million in 2017 to 6.0 million in 2018.

Property crime continues to decrease.

There were large reductions in crime for a twenty-year period until 2015.

 

Understanding Crime

The total numbers or rates of violent crime often mask significant trends as to our understanding of criminality. This article attempts to add some insights that are not reflected in the overall numbers as provided by the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Readers are encouraged to read the full report (link below). Rates, totals, statistical significance and varied years of data measured can be confusing.

The National Crime Victimization Survey (referred to here as the National Crime Survey) is a self-reported process similar to the US census. Annual estimates are based on the number and characteristics of crimes respondents experienced during the prior 6 months.

The data is different from numbers offered by the FBI and Gallup because they all measure unique events, see Crime in The US. The US Department of Justice created the National Crime Survey because less than half of violent victimizations are reported to the police. To get the most accurate view of crime, you need a survey.

dispatchers remember
Violent crimes are happening to more people. But fewer victims are calling 911. Why? (Public Domain)

 

Reported Crime

The rate of violent victimizations not reported to police rose from 9.5 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2015 to 12.9 per 1,000 in 2018.

The percentage of rape or sexual assault victimizations reported to police declined from 40% to 25%, while the percentage of robbery victimizations reported to police increased from 49% to 63%.

The percent of violent crimes reported to the police declined for total and completed categories (see chart below). There are mixed results for the attempted and threatened categories.

violent_crime_chart
(Provided by Crime in America)

 

Victimization

From 2015 to 2018, the number of persons who were victims of violent crime, as well as the percentage of persons who were victims of violent crime , increased among the total population and also among whites, males, females, those ages 25 to 34, those ages 50 to 64, and those age 65 or older.

The offender was of the same race or ethnicity as the victim in 70% of violent incidents involving black victims, 62% of those involving white victims, 45% of those involving Hispanic victims, and 24% of those involving Asian victims.

The rate of rape or sexual assault increased from 1.4 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2017 to 2.7 per 1,000 in 2018.

Violent crimes are shooting up, but victims aren't calling the cops. What's happening?
(Provided by Crime in America)

 

Per the chart above, the violent crime rate is at a four year high. Domestic violence, intimate partner violence, stranger violence, and violent crime with injury have all recorded increases recent years.

Violent crime with a weapon increased for a three year period.

From 2016 to 2018, the rate of completed violent victimizations increased from 5.1 victimizations per 1,000 persons to 6.9 per 1,000.

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Violent crimes are shooting up, but victims aren't calling the cops. What's happening?

 

Based on the 2018 survey, less than half (43%) of violent victimizations were reported to the police.

Based on the 2018 survey, assistance from a victim-service agency was received in response to 11% of violent victimizations.

Females have a higher rate of violent victimizations than men (which is different than the past).

Whites have a higher rate of violent victimization than blacks.

When you exclude simple assault, blacks have a higher rate of serious violent victimization.

As in previous years, lower-income people, single or divorced people or younger individuals have the highest rates of violent victimization.

The 2018 rate of violent victimization against veterans was not significantly different from the 2018 rate against non-veterans.

An estimated 470,840 violent victimizations in the U.S. involved a firearm, based on the 2018 survey, which includes crimes where the offender possessed, showed, or used a firearm. About two-thirds (66%) of these victimizations were reported to the police.

The percentage of violent incidents involving male offenders (77%) was 1.6 times greater than the percentage of males represented in the population (49%), whereas the percentage of violent incidents involving female offenders (18%) was 0.4 times the percentage of females in the population (51%).

Based on victims’ perceptions, the largest percentage of violent incidents committed against white, black, and Hispanic victims were committed by someone of the same race or ethnicity. Offenders were white in 62% of violent incidents committed against white victims, black in 70% of incidents committed against black victims, and Hispanic in 45% of incidents committed against Hispanic victims. When victims were Asian, there were no statistically significant differences between the percentage of incidents in which the offender was perceived as Asian (24%), white (24%), or black (27%).

The percentage of males who were victims of violent crime increased from 0.94% in 2015 to 1.21% in 2018 (up 29%), and the percentage of females who were victims of violent crime increased from 1.03% to 1.16% (up 13%) over that same span.

The percentage of whites who were victims increased from 0.96% in 2015 to 1.19% in 2018 (up 24%).

From 2015 to 2018, the prevalence of violent victimization increased for persons ages 25 to 34 (from 1.09% to 1.52%), ages 50 to 64 (from 0.79% to 1.07%), and age 65 or older (from 0.29% to 0.49%).

During this period, the prevalence of violent victimization also increased among persons who were married (from 0.54% to 0.70%), widows or widowers (from 0.62% to 0.93%), and separated persons (from 1.65% to 2.68%). From 2017 to 2018, the portion of persons ages 35 to 49 who were victims of violent crime increased from 1.06% to 1.27%.

Source

Bureau of Justice Statistics

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See more articles on crime and justice at Crime in America.

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