No Shortage Of Victims Even As Crime Declines

Despite the decline in crime rates since the early 1990s, remarkable numbers of Americans still manage to be crime victims. A Gallup poll finds that “32 percent of households experienced some type of crime during the past year, including 18 percent with one incident and 14 percent with two or more incidents.” If these figures have you ready to hide under your bed, bear in mind that just 3 percent of respondents said they personally were victims of a violent crime during the past year, and just 5 percent said a violent crime befell anyone in their household.

Four percent of respondents said their house or apartment was broken into during the past year; 2 percent said their household had a car stolen. The crime reported by the highest number of respondents (16 percent) was “money or property stolen from you or another member of your household.” The runner-up (15 percent) was “a home, car or property owned by you or other household member vandalized.” Eight percent of respondents said they were victims of computer/ Internet crime. Notwithstanding the stereotype of the little old lady having her purse snatched, young adults were more likely than their elders to be victims (see the chart). There was surprisingly little disparity in victimization rates by the type of area people inhabit: 29 percent of city dwellers, 26 percent of suburbanites and 24 percent of rural residents were victims of crime in the past year.

If crime doesn’t pay, maybe it’s because criminals don’t have the good sense to prey on the people who have the most money. Twenty-three percent of households with income of $75,000-plus were victims of crimes last year, compared to 34 percent of households with income under $20,000. Actually, there was no clear correlation one way or another between crime and income. The rate was lowest for households in the $20,000-29,999 bracket (18 percent), while it climbed to 23 percent for the $30,000-49,999s and to 33 percent for the $50,000-74,999s.