For decades, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program has issued reports on crimes reported to local police departments and the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) has reported on results of a survey of Americans that shows that many crimes are unreported. Last year, NCVS said that 54 percent of violent crimes were not reported to police. The nonreporting rate is higher with rape and sex crimes, about two-thirds of which are not reported. Until now, however, the NCVS has been reported only on a national basis, with no breakdown for states and localities.
For the first time, BJS yesterday issued estimates of “subnational” crime rates for states, the District of Columbia, and many regions and counties based on its data from interviews asking about victimization. The estimates are in a report compiled by the Maryland-based firm Westat for BJS. Paralleling the national results, state and local crime rates often are much higher than those reported by the FBI. Among preliminary findings, Washington and Oregon move from below the national average for violent crime in the FBI’s count to above average in the victimization survey. Florida shifts from above average in the FBI count to below average in the victimization survey. In general, the victimization estimates show comparatively lower crime rates in the Southeast than do the Uniform Crime Reports.