If you watch one of the many type of television crime dramas that are on currently, you could think you know the answer to this question. But looking at the actual statistics might surprise you.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has conducted the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) each year because 1973, asking a random sample of Americans twelve and also older about their experiences through crime during the past year.

This survey is necessary bereason many type of crimes, particularly minor crimes like theft, never obtain reported to police. So if we relied solely on law enforcement agency information, we could never acquire a great picture of the pervasiveness of crime. For instance, by comparing the NCVS to the FBI's Unicreate Crime Reports, a database of crimes and also arrests based upon regulation enforcement information, we can also obtain an principle of how many type of rapes get reported to the police and how many don’t.

Here are some points the NCVS teaches us about crime victimization from 1973 to 2006, the the majority of recent year for which information are available:

1. Violent victimization is on the decline


Between 1973 and also 1993, violent victimization organized somewhat steady, hovering just under 50 per 1,000 (this means that for every thousand Americans, fifty were victims of violence) to about 20 per 1,000 in 2006. This trend mirrors FBI data, which likewise details a sharp crime decline after the at an early stage 1990s. As you deserve to check out below, residential or commercial property crime declined substantially too.


2. Teens and young adults are the a lot of likely victims of violent crime


Young people are the most most likely victims of violent crime. In 2006, young adults 20-24 were slightly more most likely to report victimization than teens after many type of years of teens being the team the majority of likely to be victims of violence. This isn’t necessarily bereason teenagers themselves are more violent—according to then FBI Unicreate Crime Reports the huge majority of human being arrested for violent crime (more than 80 percent) are adults.

Take a look at the lowest line on the graph above; despite the prevalent perception that the elderly are very likely to be victims of violence, they are the group least most likely to be victimized.

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


Unfortunately, the NCVS information on race only considers two categories. From the graph over, it is clear that black victimization is better than the price for whites. Although the prices for both groups have declined in current years, we can see that babsence victimization has increased slightly, while white victimization has remained level.

4. Males are more most likely to be victims of violence than females


With the exemption of rape, males are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than females are. As Sally Raskoff blogged around last year, we tfinish to think that females are even more vulnerable to violence. Boys and also men are more most likely to be victims of attack, robbery, and also homicide than girls or woguys are.

5. Low-revenue world are even more most likely to be victims

The NCVS information expose that those through family incomes listed below $7,500 are even more than 3 times more most likely to be robbed than those through incomes above $75,000. This might seem counterintuitive; wouldn’t wealthier people have actually even more and much better stuff to take? They more than likely perform, but poorer world are more most likely to live in better crime communities, and criminals generally victimize those around them the many. It’s more convenient.

Poor human being are not just more likely to be robbed. Those at the lowest earnings level are victims of aggravated assault at the rate of 13 per 1,000, compared via 3 per 1,000 in the $75,000 and also over category.


Okay, currently that we have some standard concepts about the age, race, sex, and also class of the most most likely victims of crime, let’s think about who is the majority of most likely to be featured in crime dramas. The victims on these mirrors tfinish to be (although are not always) sympathetic figures; after all, if we don’t treatment about the victim, we could not treatment if their assailants are caught and also lugged to justice.

This can bring about highlighting white female victimization, both in crime dramas and also in the news to appeal to a details taracquire audience. Historically the are afraid for white woguys and children’s safety and security motivated the lynching of many type of black guys and also the passage of regulations allegedly to defend women’s virtue.

In seeking a middle course audience, producers could likewise tend to emphasis on middle course victims, human being we can imagine are “simply like us” and therefore their victimization hits closer to home. We could also feel even more emotional connection to stories about elderly victims, which heighten the feeling of outrage versus a heartless perpetrator.

So crime shows have actually a lot of compelling reasons for telling slightly various crime stories than the ones that happen in real life. Drama, after all, is heightened truth, not truth.

But it’s essential to recognize that the abundance of crime dramas might distort our perception of that are most most likely to be victims.

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Based on NCVS information, those that are young, babsence, male, and poor are disproportionally likely to be crime victims. Why execute you think we have actually had actually an less complicated time viewing this team as the cause of crime, rather than as crime victims?