Resource Guide
National Crime Victimization Survey

NCVS Crime Counts and Rates Tables

The Crime Counts and Rates tables are available as a quick reference for NCVS users. The tables cover all years from 1995 to the most recently archived year and provide counts and rates for the types of crime included in the NCVS. The tables can also be used to double check calculations. Using NCVS data and weights can be a complicated process, and double checking crime counts and/or rates against the provided tables can assure a user that they are using the data correctly.

Data Year v. Collection Year

The NCVS hierarchical (or "full" file) can be used in two formats, the collection year format and the data year format. Therefore, the NCVS Crime Counts and Rates tables are available in both these formats.

The collection year format is based on 12 months (4 quarters) of interviews. This format provides a more expedient measure of crime, and contains all crime reported in the year of interview, regardless of the year the crime actually occurred. This data format is used in the BJS annual publication, Criminal Victimization: Changes with Trends.

The data year format is based on 18 months (6 quarters) of interviews. Given the six month retrospective reference period used by the NCVS, it takes 18 months to record a complete victimization experience. Under the data year format, crimes are counted in the year they occurred, not the year they were reported. Consequently, the data year format is considered more accurate. When crime is relatively stable, however, the difference between crime rates calculated using collection year and data year is small. This data format is used in BJS special reports.

NACJD archives the data year format of the NCVS. The collection year data can be created from the data year file by selecting for records that record an interview in one of the first four quarters of interviews, and writing only these records to a new (collection year) data file.