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Justice Department Marks 50 Years Of Crime Victimization Survey

As the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) celebrates its 50th anniversary, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the number three Justice Department official, said the survey "provides reliable data to support strategies that promote public safety, increase community trust and ensure equitable delivery of services." DOJ marked the anniversary with a day of discussions by experts and staff members about the survey's significance. It was started in 1973 to complement the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program, which provided crime counts based only on offenses reported to police departments. Gupta noted that to compile NCVS, the Census Bureau interviews nearly a quarter-million people in 150,000 households to get estimates on how much crime actually was committed around the nation.

Before NCVS, Gupta said, "Service calls and arrest reports were our sole source of data. And while information from law enforcement agencies across the country is critical to understanding the challenges facing our communities, we’ve come to appreciate over time that relying solely on this information doesn’t tell the full story." Through NCVS, "We're able to get data that we would otherwise lack: the reasons why a victim did or did not report the crime; the ripple effects of victimization on a person’s health and economic wellbeing; whether they were able to access victim services to address the impact of their experience," Gupta said. The types of crime surveyed have been expanded to include identity theft, fraud and stalking. She said NCVS "will be expanded to holistically understand respondents’ perceptions of community safety. With this information, we're better able and better equipped to recognize and meet the distinct safety needs of each community across our nation."


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