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Estimation of Extended Period Victimization Risk

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 1986
Data from a 1983 victimization survey of household residents and Capitol Hill employees in the District of Columbia formed the basis of an analysis of the feasibility of estimating people's risks of victimization over their lifetimes.

The approximately 5,700 subjects reported on whether they had been victimized either between May 1982 and April 1983 or at any other time. From 15 to 16 percent of the subjects had experienced assaults or attempted assaults at some time during their current employment. Approximately one-fifth had experienced a burglary. The approach used in the study could be adapted to estimate lifetime risk if survey respondents can correctly recall whether or not they have been victimized in the past. A pretest is needed to permit a comprehensive assessment of recall and estimation problems. Crimes of varying degrees of seriousness should be included, because more serious crimes are more likely to be remembered. The use of lifetime prevalence estimates should be considered for the National Crime Survey. Focusing on lifetime prevalence would permit better understanding of personal and behavioral factors associated with victimization and could increase opportunities for prevention. Data tables, appendixes presenting survey design and error estimates, and 21 references.

Date Published: May 1, 1986