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National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

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The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is the nation's primary source of information on criminal victimization.

If you have been asked to participate in this survey, this site will help you verify that the survey came from the Census Bureau, verify that the person who called or came to your door is a Census Bureau employee, and inform you of how we protect your data.

If you have additional concerns that are not addressed on this page, and wish to contact somebody at the Census Bureau, please see the contact information at the bottom of this page.

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Overview

This survey, called the National Crime Victimization Survey, collects data measuring the types and amount of crime involving people age 12 or older. Periodically, the survey includes additional topics such as crime in schools, contacts with law enforcement, and identity theft.

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Why is this survey important?

Data from this survey are used to provide information on many topics related to crime and victimization, including crime in schools, trends in violent crime, costs of crime, and the response of law enforcement to reports of victimization. To see examples of reports, tables, and charts that use data from the survey, you can visit the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ website.

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Can I be identified by my responses? Is this survey authorized by law?

The Census Bureau is required by law to protect your information. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in a way that could identify you or your household. We are conducting this survey for the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice under the authority of law (Title 13, United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 8). The Bureau of Justice Statistics is authorized to collect this survey information by law (Title 34, U.S.C., Section 10132). Federal law protects your privacy and keeps your answers confidential (Title 13, U.S.C., Section 9 and Title 34, U.S.C., Sections 10231 and 10134). Per the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015, your data are protected from cybersecurity risks through screening of the systems that transmit your data. This collection has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB Number: 1121-0111).

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What should you expect if your address was randomly selected to be in the survey?

  • A household selected for the National Crime Victimization Survey will first receive a letter from the director of the Census Bureau that provides more information about the survey, letting the resident(s) know that they can expect to be contacted by a representative from the Census Bureau in the near future.
  • Typically, the first National Crime Victimization Survey interview takes place in person with a Census Bureau representative. However, interviews may also be done by telephone.
  • The Census Bureau tries to reach respondents when they are home. That means we may contact a household after business hours when people are likely to be home from work, and on weekends.

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How was I selected to be in this survey?

The Census Bureau chose your address, not you personally, to participate in this survey. We randomly selected a sample of addresses across the country to represent the entire population. We need a response from all persons 12 or older in sampled homes to get a complete picture of the types and amount of crime happening in the United States.

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How can I verify that my address was selected for this survey?

To verify that your address was selected for this survey, you can contact your Census Bureau Regional Office. You can find a mapping of all Census Bureau Regional Offices, with contact information, on the Census Bureau’s website.

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How can I verify that the person contacting me is a Census Bureau employee?

  • All Census Bureau employees identify themselves by name and will show you their credentials. They will be carrying a laptop with the Census logo on it to conduct the survey.
  • If you receive a call and wish to verify that the caller is a Census Bureau employee, you can call one of our regional offices or you can use the staff search on our website.

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What if nobody in my family has been a victim of a crime?

Your participation is important even if you have not experienced any crime. The success of this survey depends on your participation. We cannot substitute another address for yours. Your address is part of a scientifically selected sample of addresses chosen throughout the country. Your answers represent hundreds of other households like yours.

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Is participation mandatory?

The survey is voluntary, and there are no penalties for not participating. We expect the interview to take about 25 minutes. Your interview may be somewhat shorter or longer than this depending on your circumstances.

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How do I know my responses are safe?

The responses that are collected from surveys conducted by the Census Bureau are encrypted both in transit and at rest on the Census Bureau’s servers. These servers are part of a stand-alone network that is not accessible by the Internet. These servers are constantly monitored for any attempts at intrusion.

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Where can I find the statistics produced by this survey?

To see examples of reports, tables, and charts that use data from the survey, you can visit the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ website.

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What if I have additional questions, recommendations, or issues that I need resolved?

If you have additional questions about the survey, or if you wish to speak to someone at the Census Bureau, you can contact your regional office or the respondent advocate. The respondent advocate can address the concerns of those households that have been selected to participate in this survey, as well as share that feedback with those who manage the survey operations.

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The Census Bureau also has a web page “Are You In A Survey” designed to answer additional questions you might have about being in a Census survey.

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