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Pennsylvania Initiates Crime Victimization Survey

NCJ Number
Date Published
5 pages
This report presents the methodology, findings, implications, and limitations of the 1996 Pennsylvania Crime Victimization Survey (PCVS).
The survey results are based on a telephone survey of 2,554 Pennsylvania households. The survey used a random digit dialing sampling methodology to ensure that the selected households were a representative sample of the State as a whole. Telephone interviews were conducted between August 1996 and January 1997. A total of 3,096 individuals residing in the 2,554 selected households were interviewed. The PCVS replicates the questions and procedures used in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Approximately one-fourth of the PCVS respondents reported at least one victimization within the past 6 months. The majority of victimizations involved property crimes rather than offenses against persons. Personal and household theft was the single most often reported crime in the PCVS, accounting for half of all crimes experienced by the survey respondents. Consistent with findings from the NCVS, only 42 percent of the victimization incidents were reported to the police. Most crimes reported in the PCVS were committed by someone known to the victim. Crimes committed by strangers accounted for only approximately one- fourth of personal/household theft and of breaking and entering incidents. The majority of crimes occurred during the nighttime hours, and younger adults were at higher risk for victimization. Overall, the PCVS results mirror the findings of more than two decades of victimization surveys at the national level. The PCVS is a "first generation" victimization survey. In retrospect, the survey researchers concluded, it would be useful to design a victimization survey specifically for use in Pennsylvania, rather than continue to use the NCVS questionnaire. 3 figures