Who Are Crime Victims?

Posted on April 24, 2012 by


I say “crime victim.”

Without thinking, what popped into your mind? If you had a mental image, what was it? Chances are, the person that you immediately thought of is female, white, middle class, maybe a little girl, maybe a soccer mom. Yet the data don’t support that image, which is created by media and perpetuated by racialized fears.

The best national-level data we have on crime victimization in the US is the National Crime Victimization Survey. The most recent available data come from 2010, and are found in this report. No doubt, there are many difficulties in measuring criminal victimization, and these figures should not be treated as absolute truth. But they do give you an idea of the relative relationships between crime, race, sex, and victim-offender relationship for violent victimizations.

Whites and Asians have the lowest crime violent crime victimization rates.

With the exception of sexual assault, males have higher rates of violent victimizations than females.

Violent crimes committed against women are largely non-stranger crimes, while just under a half violent crimes against males were committed by strangers.

How does that square with the mental image you just conjured up?


Posted in: Victims