Victims and Witnesses in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin: Impact of Crime and Experience with the Criminal Justice System, 1974-1975 (ICPSR 6369)

Principal Investigator(s): Knudten, Richard D.; Meade, Anthony C.; Knudten, Mary S.; Doerner, William G.


This study was designed to examine victim and witness attitudes, beliefs, problems, and needs as a result of the criminal act and as a consequence of interactions with the criminal justice system. The study dealt with three samples. Two of the samples included victims and witnesses currently involved in the criminal justice system in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin ("in-system" samples). The third sample included was of victims originally located by the National Crime Survey conducted in Milwaukee in early 1974, who were reinterviewed on behalf of this project by the United States Bureau of the Census ("community" sample). Members of the "in-system" samples were contacted as their cases were considered at one of four stages in the criminal justice process: (1) the screening conference in the district attorney's office, (2) the preliminary hearing, (3) the misdemeanor trial, or (4) the felony trial. Both the in-system and community respondents were asked about their attitudes toward security and safety, criminals, and restitution, what problems crime victims may have as a result of experiencing the crime and going to court, and their satisfaction with the handling of their case by the police, the district attorney, and the judge. Incident data cover the respondent's relationship to the offender, injuries sustained, type of crime and what happened, reason for calling/not calling police, and losses resulting from the crime. Follow-up data supply information on resulting emotional problems and other problems resulting from the crime, how people close to the respondent were affected, financial, interpersonal, and physical-emotional crime-related problems, and court system-related problems. Additional questions were asked about the types of services provided by social agencies to the crime victims and witnesses, the respondent's opinion of the behavior of the police, and, for victims, perceptions of the importance of providing help for crime victims. Demographic variables include age, education, race, sex, income, occupational prestige status, and employment history of respondents.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


Knudten, Richard D., Anthony C. Meade, Mary S. Knudten, and William G. Doerner. Victims and Witnesses in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin: Impact of Crime and Experience with the Criminal Justice System, 1974-1975. ICPSR06369-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1996.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (75-NI-99-0018-G)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    case processing, criminal justice system, trial procedures, trials, victim compensation, victim services, victims

Geographic Coverage:    United States, Wisconsin

Time Period:   

  • 1974--1975

Date of Collection:   

  • 1974-12-04--1975-11-04

Universe:    Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, crime victims aged 12 and over.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

This hierarchical dataset has two separate record types: Record I contains household/person data, and Record II contains victimization data. For Record I, there are 186 variables for the 2,177 household/person records. For Record II, there are 694 variables for the 5,324 victimization records.


Sample:    Of a total of approximately 23,700 persons in the initial 1974 sample of Milwaukee County citizens, about 5,400 persons aged 12 and over were identified as having been victimized by crime. Each of the 5,400 persons was placed in one strata on the basis of whether the victimization was of a personal or property nature or whether it was classified as serious or nonserious. The final randomly-selected sample of 2,177 persons included all those who had been victims of at least one serious personal crime, at least one serious property crime, or at least one nonserious property crime.

Data Source:

self-enumerated questionnaires and telephone interviews


Original ICPSR Release:   1996-10-08

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