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Crime Victimization Rates for Incumbents of 246 Occupations

NCJ Number
Sociology and Social Research Volume: 69 Issue: 3 Dated: (April 1985) Pages: 442-451
R Block; M Felson; C R Block
Date Published
10 pages
This paper uses National Crime Survey (NCS) data from 1972-81 to categorize 246 occupations according to their victimization rates for robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft.
This analysis was based on a subset of 108,000 incidents reported in the NCS where the victim was a currently employed member of the civilian labor force; persons under age 16 were excluded. The analysis found a wide range of risk, although risk consistently was in inverse relationship to occupational status. Certain occupations were consistently among the most victimized. Amusement and recreation workers were among the five highest risk occupations for all five offenses, possibly reflecting the long history of marginality among carnival workers. Certain restaurant occupations were in the highest risk group, including busboys, dishwashers, and waiters. Perhaps the hours of work were the cause. Sheriffs and police officers had the highest assault risk. Taxidrivers and newspaper carriers were among the most often robbed. Property victimization leaders included athletes and demonstrators, presumably because they both were often away from home. Peddlers had very high auto theft rates, possibly because they park their cars among strangers. Lowest rates of victimization included certain farm occupations, but not farm laborers who were in the middle risk groups. Other low risk occupations were telephone and electrical linemen and data processing repair persons. Opticians, stenographers, and radio operators reported burglary rates of zero, with engineers near zero. Dentists, medical secretaries, and clergy had tiny assault rates. Stationary firemen, barbers, and dentists had low larceny rates, while school administrators and electrical engineers had very low burglary rates. Additional analysis indicated that urbanization of an occupation had a direct positive effect on its robbery risk, but an indirect negative effect by increasing income, which in turn reduced robbery risk. Thus, many jobs may involve a tradeoff between safety and income. Charts show victimization rates for all 246 occupations. One reference is supplied.