Nation's Violent Crime Victimization Rate Falls 10%

50% Drop Since Survey Began in 1973


Contact: BJS, 202-307-0784


WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 -- The nation's violent crime rate fell 10% last year, continuing  a trend observed since 1994, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. During the last 7 years the annual violent crime rate decreased about 50% -- from 52 violent victimizations per 1,000 U.S. residents age 12 or older in 1994 to 25 per thousand in 2001.


Violent victimization and property crime rates in 2001 are the lowest recorded since the National Crime Victimization Survey's inception in 1973. The number of criminal victimizations in 2001 was almost half that measured when the BJS survey commenced in 1973. There were an estimated 44 million personal and household crimes that year, compared to 24.2 million during 2001.


In 2001 there were approximately 18.3 million property crimes (burglary, motor vehicle theft and household theft) and 5.7 million violent personal crimes (rape, sexual assault, robbery and simple and aggravated assault). Last years' decline in violent crimes was primarily attributable to a drop in simple assaults.


According to victim self-reports, most male victims of violence were victimized by strangers, whereas the majority of females were victimized by someone they knew:


Relationship With Offender                                                Male Victims                  Female Victims


Intimates                                                                              3%                                          20%

Other relatives                                                                 4%                                          9%

Friend or acquaintance                                                        37%                                        37%

Stranger                                                                                 55%                                        32%.


About 1 in 3 victims of violence faced an offender armed with a weapon; 1 in 11 victims of violence said the offender had a firearm. Firearm use in crime has significantly declined -- it accounted for 12% of all violent crime in 1994 and 9% in 2001.


In 2001, victims reported that about 49% of violent crimes and 37% of property crimes they experienced were reported to police, a reporting rate similar to that in 2000 for both categories of crime. Violent victimizations against women were more likely to be brought to the attention of police than those against males.


The data, from BJS' National Criminal Victimization Survey, a continuing survey of the U.S. public on their exposure to crime, also showed that between 1993 and 2001, a period in which the per capita rate of violence declined 50% and property crimes fell 47%, specific crime categories showed the following declines:


Rape/sexual assault: -56%

Robbery: -53%

Aggravated assault: -56%

Simple assault: -46%

Household burglary: -51%

Motor vehicle theft: -52%

Household theft: -47%


Between 1993 and 2000, FBI murder data shows a decrease of 42% in the per capita rate of murder, a drop from 9.5 murders per 100,000 U.S. residents to 5.5 per 100,000 residents.


The report, "Criminal Victimization 2001, Changes 2000-2001 with Trends 1993-2001" (NCJ-194610), was written by BJS statistician Callie Rennison. Single copies may be obtained by calling the BJS Clearinghouse at 800-732-3277. In addition, this document can be accessed at


For further information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics and other OJP programs, please see the OJP website at:


Media calls should be directed to David Hess in OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at or 202-307-0703. After hours, contact 877-859-8704.