Gallup Finds Slight Drop in Crime Victimization Compared With 2005

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Twenty-eight percent say their household was victimized by crime in last year

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's annual crime poll finds a slight decrease in self-reported household crime victimization compared with 2005. Gallup's household crime victimization index is the lowest it has been since 2001, and Gallup's personal crime victimization index is the lowest it has been since it was first calculated in 2000. There has been essentially no change in the rate of violent crime incidents as measured in the survey, nor in the percentage of crimes reported to the police. The most common crimes are property vandalism and property theft. 

Crime Victimization

The Oct. 9-12 Crime poll asked Americans whether they or someone in their household were the victim of each of eight different crimes in the past 12 months, ranging from property vandalism to sexual assault. Twenty-eight percent of Americans report that their household was the victim of at least one of these crimes, with the figure at 24% if Internet crime is excluded. In the 2005 edition of the crime poll, the figures were 32% and 27%, respectively.

Household Crime Victimization Rate, Gallup Crime Polls

Year

Including Internet Crime

Excluding Internet Crime

 

%

%

2006

28

24

2005

32

27

2004

30

25

2003

30

26

2002

--

25

2001

--

22

2000

--

24

Note: figures indicate the percentage who report their household has been the victim of any of the crimes tested in the poll

The 2005 crime victimization estimates were the highest Gallup has found in recent years, so much of the decline this year could be a return to more normal figures. While the 2006 figures are not statistically different from what they were in 2000-2004, they are on the low end of the spectrum. The last time Gallup found a lower crime rate (excluding Internet crime, which was added in 2003) was in 2001, when 22% of Americans said their household was recently victimized by a crime.

Personal crime victimization rates are also down slightly from recent years, with 18% saying they were personally the victim of a crime (14% when Internet crime is excluded). Prior to this year, the averages were 21% including Internet crime and 16% excluding it. The personal crime victimization rate (excluding Internet crime) has dropped a point or two in each of the last three years.

Personal Crime Victimization Rate, Gallup Crime Polls

Year

Including Internet Crime

Excluding Internet Crime

 

%

%

2006

18

14

2005

21

16

2004

21

17

2003

21

18

2002

--

15

2001

--

15

2000

--

15

Note: figures indicate the percentage who report they have personally been the victim of any of the crimes tested in the poll

Only 4% of Americans report that a member of their household was victimized by a violent crime -- property taken by force, physical assault, or sexual assault -- in the past 12 months. That is the same as the average measured in the surveys over the last six years.

The federal government's most recent crime statistics are for the years 2004-2005. In addition to that, the way the government measures crime differs from Gallup's, so it is hard to make a precise comparison. Government statistics showed an increase in violent crime from 2004 to 2005, but a decrease in property crime. Both types of crime are down significantly from the 1990s.

Demographic Differences

Usually there are differences in household crime victimization by place of residence, with urban residents more likely to say their households have been the victim of crime than rural residents. That basic pattern continues this year, with 32% of urban residents in the Gallup Poll reporting that their household has been victimized by crime (including Internet crime), compared with just 23% of rural residents. Twenty-seven percent of suburban residents have been victimized. When Internet crime is excluded, the figures are 29% for urban residents, 23% for suburban residents, and 21% for rural residents.

The most notable difference in personal crime victimization is by age. Senior citizens are significantly less likely than younger Americans to report being personally victimized by crime, a pattern evident in most Gallup Crime polls. Only 8% of Americans aged 65 and older say they were personally victimized by crime in the past year (7% excluding Internet crime), compared with a 20% personal crime rate among those under age 65 (16% excluding Internet crime). Generally speaking, Americans under age 30 are most likely to report having been personally victimized by crime.

Types of Crimes

Of the eight crimes tested in the poll, the most commonly occurring ones are having a home, car, or property vandalized (14% of Americans say this happened to them or someone in their household in the last 12 months) and having money or property stolen (13%). Beyond those crimes, 8% report being the victim of an Internet crime, 4% say their house or apartment was broken into, and 3% say they had a car stolen. Three percent or less report a violent crime occurred against them or someone in their household, including mugging or physical assault, sexual assault, and having money taken by force.

Please tell me which, if any, of these incidents have happened to you or your household within the last twelve months?

Yes

No

%

%

A home, car, or property owned by you or another household member vandalized

14

86

Money or property stolen from you or another member of your household

13

87

You or another household member was victim of computer/Internet crime

8

92

Your house or apartment broken into

4

96

A car owned by you or another household member stolen

3

97

You or another household member mugged or physically assaulted

3

97

You or another household member sexually assaulted

2

98

Money or property taken by force, with gun, knife, weapon or physical attack

1

99

Crime Reporting

Two in three Americans who were victimized by a crime say they reported that crime to police, which is essentially unchanged from 2005 (67%) but higher than in 2004 (62%, an uncharacteristically low number). The average crime-reporting percentage has been 68% from 2000-2006.

Percentage of Crimes Reported to Police, Gallup Crime Polls

Year

Including Internet Crime

Excluding Internet Crime

 

%

%

2006

62

66

2005

61

67

2004

56

62

2003

65

68

2002

--

71

2001

--

67

2000

--

71

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that the number of crimes reported to the authorities has been flat in recent years, but has increased since the 1990s.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,001 adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 9-12, 2006. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

23. Please tell me which, if any, of these incidents have happened to you or your household within the last twelve months?

A. Your house or apartment broken into

Yes

No

No opinion

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

4

96

*

2005 Oct 13-16

4

96

*

2004 Oct 11-14

3

97

--

2003 Oct 6-8

5

95

--

2002 Oct 14-17

5

95

*

2001 Oct 11-14

3

97

*

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

4

96

--

* = Less than 0.5%

B. Money or property stolen from you or another member of your household

Yes

No

No opinion

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

13

87

*

2005 Oct 13-16

16

84

--

2004 Oct 11-14

14

86

*

2003 Oct 6-8

14

86

*

2002 Oct 14-17

12

88

*

2001 Oct 11-14

11

89

*

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

14

86

--

* = Less than 0.5%

C. A car owned by you or another household member stolen

Yes

No

No opinion

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

3

97

*

2005 Oct 13-16

2

98

*

2004 Oct 11-14

4

96

*

2003 Oct 6-8

3

97

--

2002 Oct 14-17

4

96

*

2001 Oct 11-14

3

97

--

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

4

96

--

* = Less than 0.5%

D. A home, car, or property owned by you or another household member vandalized

 

Yes

No

No opinion

 

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

14

86

*

2005 Oct 13-16

15

85

*

2004 Oct 11-14

15

85

*

2003 Oct 6-8

15

85

*

2002 Oct 14-17

15

84

1

2001 Oct 11-14

11

89

--

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

12

88

--

* = Less than 0.5%

E. Money or property taken from you or another household member by force, with gun, knife, weapon or physical attack, or by threat of force

Yes

No

No opinion

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

1

99

*

2005 Oct 13-16

2

98

*

2004 Oct 11-14

1

99

--

2003 Oct 6-8

2

98

*

2002 Oct 14-17

1

99

*

2001 Oct 11-14

1

99

--

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

2

98

--

* = Less than 0.5%

F. You or another household member mugged or physically assaulted

Yes

No

No opinion

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

3

97

*

2005 Oct 13-16

4

96

*

2004 Oct 11-14

3

97

*

2003 Oct 6-8

2

98

*

2002 Oct 14-17

3

97

*

2001 Oct 11-14

3

97

--

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

3

97

--

* = Less than 0.5%

G. You or another household member sexually assaulted

Yes

No

No opinion

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

2

98

*

2005 Oct 13-16

1

99

*

2004 Oct 11-14

*

100

--

2003 Oct 6-8

1

99

*

2002 Oct 14-17

2

98

*

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

1

99

--

* = Less than 0.5%

H. You or another household member was the victim of a computer or Internet-based crime, such as fraud or computer hacking, while using your home computer

Yes

No

No opinion

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

8

92

*

2005 Oct 13-16

8

92

--

2004 Oct 11-14

8

91

1

2003 Oct 6-8

6

93

1

* = Less than 0.5%

SUMMARY: HOUSEHOLD CRIME VICTIMIZATION

Household Victimized by Crime in the Past Year (Q.23A-H)

Yes

No

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

28

72

2005 Oct 13-16

32

68

2004 Oct 11-14

30

70

2003 Oct 6-8

30

70

Long-Term Trend: Household Victimized by Crime in the Past Year -- Excluding Internet Crime (Q.23A-G)

Yes

No

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

24

76

2005 Oct 13-16

27

73

2004 Oct 11-14

25

75

2003 Oct 6-8

26

74

2002 Oct 14-17

25

75

2001 Oct 11-14

22

78

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

24

76

Number of Times Household Victimized by Crime in the Past Year (Q.23A-H)

None

Once

Twice or more

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

72

16

12

2005 Oct 13-16

68

18

14

2004 Oct 11-14

70

18

12

2003 Oct 6-8

70

17

13

Long-Term Trend: Number of Times Household Victimized by Crime in the Past Year -- Excluding Internet Crime (Q.23A-G)

None

Once

Twice or more

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

76

14

10

2005 Oct 13-16

73

15

12

2004 Oct 11-14

75

14

11

2003 Oct 6-8

74

14

12

2002 Oct 14-17

75

16

9

2001 Oct 11-14

78

15

7

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

76

14

10

Household Victimized by Violent Crime in the Past Year (Q.23E-G)

Yes

No

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

4

96

2005 Oct 13-16

5

95

2004 Oct 11-14

4

96

2003 Oct 6-8

5

95

2002 Oct 14-17

4

96

2001 Oct 11-14

4

96

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

3

97

24. (Asked of those who were victims of the crimes listed below) As far as you know, was that incident reported to the police, or not?

A. Your house or apartment broken into

B. Money or property stolen from you or another member of your household

C. A car owned by you or another household member stolen

D. A home, car, or property owned by you or another household member vandalized

E. Money or property taken from you or another household member by force, with gun, knife, weapon or physical attack, or by threat of force

F. You or another household member mugged or physically assaulted

G. You or other household member sexually assaulted

H. You or another household member was the victim of a computer or Internet-based crime, such as fraud or computer hacking, while using your home computer

ITEMS A-H NOT REPORTED DUE TO SMALL SAMPLE SIZES

SUMMARY: CRIME REPORTING

Crime against Household Reported to Police in the Past Year (Q.24A-H)

Crime reported

Crime not reported

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

62

38

2005 Oct 13-16

61

39

2004 Oct 11-14

56

44

2003 Oct 6-8

65

35

Long-Term Trend: Crime against Household Reported to Police in the Past Year -- Excluding Internet Crime (Q.24A-G)

Crime reported

Crime not reported

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

66

34

2005 Oct 13-16

67

33

2004 Oct 11-14

62

38

2003 Oct 6-8

68

32

2002 Oct 14-17

71

29

2001 Oct 11-14

67

33

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

71

29

25. (Asked of those who were victims of the crimes listed below) And did this incident happen to you, personally, or was it to another member of your household?

A. NOT ASKED

B. Money or property stolen from you or another member of your household

C. A car owned by you or another household member stolen

D. A home, car, or property owned by you or another household member vandalized

E. Money or property taken from you or another household member by force, with gun, knife, weapon or physical attack, or by threat of force

F. You or another household member mugged or physically assaulted

G. You or other household member sexually assaulted

H. You or another household member was the victim of a computer or Internet-based crime, such as fraud or computer hacking, while using your home computer

ITEMS B-H NOT REPORTED DUE TO SMALL SAMPLE SIZES

SUMMARY: INDIVIDUAL CRIME VICTIMIZATION

Individual Victimized by Crime in the Past Year (Q.23A, Q.25B-H)

Yes

No

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

18

82

2005 Oct 13-16

21

79

2004 Oct 11-14

21

79

2003 Oct 6-8

21

79

Long-Term Trend: Individual Victimized by Crime in the Past Year -- Excluding Internet Crime (Q.23A, Q.25B-H)

Yes

No

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

14

86

2005 Oct 13-16

16

84

2004 Oct 11-14

17

83

2003 Oct 6-8

18

82

2002 Oct 14-17

15

85

2001 Oct 11-14

15

85

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

15

85

Number of Times Individual Victimized by Crime in the Past Year (Q.23A, Q.25B-H)

None

Once

Twice or more

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

82

12

6

2005 Oct 13-16

79

14

7

2004 Oct 11-14

79

14

7

2003 Oct 6-8

79

14

7

Long-Term Trend: Number of Times Individual Victimized by Crime in the Past Year -- Excluding Internet Crime (Q.23A, Q.25B-H)

None

Once

Twice or more

%

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

86

9

6

2005 Oct 13-16

84

10

6

2004 Oct 11-14

83

11

6

2003 Oct 6-8

82

12

6

2002 Oct 14-17

85

10

5

2001 Oct 11-14

85

11

4

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

85

10

5

Individual Victimized by Violent Crime in the Past Year (Q.25E-G)

Yes

No

%

%

2006 Oct 9-12

2

98

2005 Oct 13-16

3

97

2004 Oct 11-14

2

98

2003 Oct 6-8

2

98

2002 Oct 14-17

2

98

2001 Oct 11-14

2

98

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

2

98

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