If you watch one of the many television crime dramas that are on now, you could think you understand the answer to this question. Yet looking at the actual statistics could surprise you.

The bureau of justice Statistics has conducted the nationwide Crime Victimization inspection (NCVS) every year due to the fact that 1973, questioning a arbitrarily sample of american twelve and older about their experiences v crime during the previous year.

This survey is important since many crimes, especially minor crimes like theft, never gain reported come police. So if we relied solely on law enforcement agency data, we could never acquire a an excellent picture that the prevalence of crime. Because that instance, by compare the NCVS to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, a database of crimes and also arrests based on law enforcement data, us can additionally get an idea of how many rapes obtain reported to the police and how many don’t.

Here room some things the NCVS teaches us around crime victimization indigenous 1973 come 2006, the most recent year because that which data space available:

1. Violent victimization is ~ above the decline


Between 1973 and also 1993, violent victimization organized somewhat steady, hovering simply under 50 per 1,000 (this means that because that every thousand Americans, fifty were victims that violence) to about 20 every 1,000 in 2006. This tendency mirrors FBI data, which also details a spicy crime decline after the early on 1990s. Together you can see below, residential property crime declined significantly too.


2. Teens and also young adults room the most likely victims of violent crime


Young world are the most likely victims that violent crime. In 2006, young adults 20-24 were slightly more likely to report victimization than teenagers after countless years of teens being the team most most likely to be victims of violence. This isn’t necessarily because teens us are an ext violent—according to then FBI Uniform Crime Reports the vast bulk of civilization arrested because that violent crime (more 보다 80 percent) room adults.

Take a look in ~ the lowest heat on the graph above; despite the usual perception that the yonsi are highly likely to be victims of violence, they room the team least likely to it is in victimized.

3. Blacks are much more likely to be victims of violence than whites


Unfortunately, the NCVS data ~ above race only considers 2 categories. From the graph above, that is clear that black color victimization is higher than the rate for whites. Although the prices for both teams have decreased in current years, we have the right to see that black victimization has increased slightly, if white victimization has remained flat.

4. Males are much more likely to be victim of violence than females


With the exemption of rape, males are much more likely to it is in the victim of violent crime 보다 females are. As Sally Raskoff blogged about last year, we tend to believe that females are an ext vulnerable come violence. Boys and men are more likely to be victim of assault, robbery, and also homicide 보다 girls or females are.

5. Low-income human being are an ext likely to be victims

The NCVS data disclose that those with family incomes listed below $7,500 are more than 3 times more likely to it is in robbed than those through incomes over $75,000. This might seem counterintuitive; i will not ~ wealthier human being have more and better stuff to take? They probably do, however poorer human being are more likely to live in higher crime neighborhoods, and criminals typically victimize those roughly them the most. It’s more convenient.

Poor civilization are no just an ext likely to be robbed. Those in ~ the lowest revenue level space victims of aggravated attack at the rate of 13 per 1,000, contrasted with 3 per 1,000 in the $75,000 and also over category.


Okay, currently that we have some an easy ideas about the age, race, gender, and class the the most most likely victims the crime, let’s think about who is most most likely to be featured in crime dramas. The victim on these mirrors tend to it is in (although space not always) sympathetic figures; after all, if us don’t care around the victim, we might not treatment if your assailants are caught and brought to justice.

This can lead come highlighting white mrs victimization, both in crime dramas and also in the news to appeal to a specific target audience. In history the fear for white women and also children’s safety encouraged the lynching of numerous black men and also the i of legislations allegedly to protect women’s virtue.

In seek a middle course audience, producer might also tend to emphasis on middle course victims, civilization we can imagine space “just choose us” and also therefore your victimization hits closer come home. We might also feel much more emotional connection to stories about elderly victims, which heighten the feeling of outrage against a heartless perpetrator.

So crime shows have actually a lot of compelling reasons for informing slightly different crime stories 보다 the people that occur in genuine life. Drama, after all, is heightened reality, no reality.

But it’s necessary to recognize that the abundance of crime dramas could distort our perception the who room most likely to be victims.

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Based on NCVS data, those who space young, black, male, and poor room disproportionally most likely to it is in crime victims. Why execute you think us have had actually an less complicated time viewing this team as the cause of crime, rather than as crime victims?