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Redesign of the National Crime Survey

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 1989
This report provides an overview of an extensive project to redesign the National Crime Survey, a nationwide, annual survey of personal and household victimization in the United States.

The genesis of the redesign efforts was an evaluation by the National Academy of Sciences and an internal review. The redesign is a comprehensive effort to re-evaluate the methodological, conceptual, and analytical issues in the collection of victimization data. Conceptual issues considered included the means of measuring criminal victimization, external validation sources, scope of crimes covered, and measuring crime risk and vulnerability. Methodological issues focused on interviewing methods, reference period choices, sampling design, and data organization and analysis. Analytical issues covered (1) accuracy, including screening strategy, bounding, interview-to-interview recounting, calendrical anchoring, and series crimes; (2) enhancement of analysis options such as the inclusion of lifestyle and outcome variables, alternate classification schemes, and longitudinal designs; (3) flexibility; (4) improving data utilization; and (5) cost effectiveness. Five major data collection efforts were carried out as part of the redesign and development work. Near-term changes decided upon included revisions to the incident form that collects data on the characteristics and consequences of victimization, direct interviewing of 12-to 13-year-old respondents, and deletion of a series of occupational status items. Long-term changes will include additional questionnaire revisions, new screening procedures, and new design packages. Options still being evaluated include a longitudinal design, centralized telephone interviewing, use of bounding interview estimation, and interview-to-interview recounting. 3 appendixes.

Date Published: February 1, 1989