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What Correctional Officers Need To Know About Violent Crime
By Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.
Published: 01/21/2019

Violence gun

I previously wrote about the increase in violent and household crime via the National Crime Survey and other reports, Crime in America.

There are concerns regarding violent crime in cities and states throughout the country.

Please see a comprehensive overview of crime in the US for recent years incorporating the three major sources of statistics at Crime in America.

What’s often missed by the commercial media is the informative nature of additional datasets offered by the National Crime Survey, such as the increase in rapes and sexual assaults reported to law enforcement. We’ve been told that news coverage of incidents would discourage women from reporting sexual assaults. The opposite happened, NY Times.


The data below includes comparisons from 2016 to 2017 with additional 2015-2017 numbers.

Violent Crime Increases: Most of the sixteen categories of violent crime rates increased from 2015 to 2017. Some were flat. Three decreased. From 2015 to 2017, the prevalence rate of violent crime increased from 0.98% to 1.14%. This rise was driven primarily by an increase in simple assault.

Rapes and Sexual Assaults: The percentage of rapes and sexual assaults reported increased from 23.2 to 40.4 percent. We were concerned that publicity regarding sexual assault and the #metoo movement would reduce numbers reported.

The overall numbers of rapes and sexual assaults increased from 298,410 (1.1 per 100,000) to 393,980 (1.4 per 100,000).

Violent Crimes Reported to Police: There is data suggesting that crimes reported to law enforcement would decrease due to negative media coverage regarding the actions of individual officers, Crime in America. It increased. Based on the 2017 survey, 45% of violent victimizations were reported to police, which was not statistically different from 2016 (44%).

Violent Crime for Males and Younger People Increase: From 2015 to 2017, the rate of violent crime committed against males increased from 15.9 victimizations per 1,000 males in 2015 to 20.4 per 1,000 in 2017. Rates for both violent crime and serious violent crime increased for persons ages 18 to 24 during this period.

Veterans: In July 2016, the Bureau of Justice Statistics added questions about citizenship and veteran status to the National Crime Victimization Survey.

There was no statistically significant difference between the rates of violent victimization of veterans and non-veterans.

Citizenship: In terms of citizenship, persons who were born in the United States had a higher rate of violent victimization (21.9 per 1,000 persons) than non-U.S. citizens (16.2 per 1,000) and naturalized U.S. citizens (9.1 per 1,000).

People With Disabilities: Persons with disabilities had a higher rate of violent victimization (40.4 per 1,000 persons) than persons without disabilities (17.7 per 1,000).

Female Victimization: There was no statistically significant difference in the percentage of violent acts committed against males and females which is a considerable change from previous reports showing that females had much lower rates. Males currently have a slight edge over females for rates in 2017.

Offenders: In about three-quarters (76%) of violent incidents where the perceived offender characteristics were reported, the victim perceived the offender to be male.

Based on victims’ reports, there were about four-fifths as many white offenders as the percentage of whites in the population, about twice as many black offenders as the percentage of blacks in the population, and about one-sixth as many Asian offenders as the percentage of Asians in the population. Note that in other reports, for child pornography, whites are the majority of offenders, the US Sentencing Commission.

About half of all perceived offenders were under age 30, while most of the population is over age 30.

Victims: From 2015 to 2017, the prevalence of violent crime increased for whites, persons ages 25 to 34 and age 50 or older, and never-married persons. The violence rates for whites, blacks and Hispanics were similar for 2017.

Previous years saw a considerable difference between black and white violent crime rates with African-Americans having considerably higher rates, Bureau of Justice Statistics.


Beyond increasing violent crime for 2015-2017, the statistics from the National Crime Survey since 1973 show an evolving picture of crime in America with a considerable closing of the gap between male and female victimization and violence committed against whites and blacks.

Stability remains as to low income and younger people having the highest rates of victimization.

We were concerned about the reporting of rapes in an age examining sexual assault (it increased), and the reporting of overall violent crime to police as a result of negative publicity concerning police officers (it increased).

The horrendous difference between people with disabilities and nondisabled people needs attention. Victimization of people 65 and older is increasing. It’s clear that offenders are targeting the most vulnerable.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Reprinted with permission from http://www.crimeinamerica.net.

Contact us at crimeinamerica@gmail.com or for media on deadline, use leonardsipes@gmail.com.

Leonard A. Sipes, Jr has thirty-five years of experience supervising public affairs for national and state criminal justice agencies. He is the Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse and the Former Director of Information Management for the National Crime Prevention Council. He has a Post Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and is the author of the book "Success With the Media". He can be reached via email at leonardsipes@gmail.com.


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