Learning Guide
National Crime Victimization Survey

Justice Data Learning Guide: No. 1, 2017

Replicating Results from the National Crime Victimization Survey

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is an important source of information about the level of crime in the United States. This learning guide instructs users in the access and use of these data. Students will learn how the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) calculates violent and property crime rates from the NCVS. A guided exercise shows how to replicate headline figures from the BJS report Criminal Victimization, 2015.

Requirements for the exercises:

  • The exercises do not assume any prior knowledge of statistical concepts.
  • You will need to download approximately 300 MB of zipped data files, which will require 540 MB of disk space when unzipped.
  • The complete exercises require access to one of these software packages: IBM SPSS Statistics, Stata or R.

Following this guide, you will be able to:

  • Define and explain scientific replication
  • Describe key features of the NCVS
  • Calculate crime rates from count and population figures
  • Locate, download, and prepare the NCVS 2015 data files for analysis
  • Replicate key statistics from the Criminal Victimization, 2015 report