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by Peter Moskos

November 18, 2013

Crime is up no wait down: NCVS

There are two main clearinghouses for crime stats in this country, the UCR (The Uniform Crime Report) and the NCVS (National Crime Victimization Survey). The former is collected from police departments and thus only includes reported crime as recorded by the police. The latter is conducted by surveys and sampling and asks people (160,000 per year) if they were a victim of crime. They both can be useful in different situations, though I'm much more partial to the UCR.

Now here's the thing: The UCR says violent crime in 2012 is down 3% compared to 2010.

The NCVS says violent crime is up 39% in the past two years.

They can't both be right.

And I seriously suspect the NCVS is wrong.


I believe in 2015 the NCVS surveyed but a *total* of 260 black male crime victims. For a national sample. (From 20,837 "black only" sampled.) Just 100 black male victims 35 or under? That seems problematic. Weighting is about 2,700 per individual.

Also, blacks are 11% of respondents, undercounts population approx 17%. (whites are overcounted at +5%) And there's no reason to assume non-respondents/missing data are random. I would assume non-respondents have higher rates of being victims. 

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