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Gallup: Americans, households victimized by crime fall to record low

Gallup: Americans, households victimized by crime fall to record low
A New York City Police Department vehicle and police tape are seen in downtown Brooklyn during a shooting investigation. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The share of Americans who say they or a relative in their household were a victim of a crime in the past year has fallen to its lowest level in at least two decades, Gallup said in a survey Thursday.

Gallup polled more than 1,000 adults in every state and Washington, D.C., for its analysis on crime victimization rates. It found that about one in eight respondents (13%) said they were the victim of one of several types of crime over the last 12 months.

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Just one in five (20%) said someone in their household had been victimized in that period.

Those who answered yes said they or a relative were victimized by at least one of seven crimes -- burglary, property theft, car theft, vandalism, aggravated theft, physical assault or sexual assault.

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Both figures are the lowest Gallup has seen since it began the victimization survey in 2000.

The previous lows were 22% for household victims (2001, 2017) and 14% for individuals (2006).

"The reported incidence of these crimes varies from a low of 1% for aggravated theft (money or property stolen from them by force or threat of force) to a high of 12% for simple theft," Gallup wrote.

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"All are at or near the low points in Gallup's trend, with reports of simple theft down five percentage points from its 2016 high and vandalism down four points from its 2015 high."

Gallup said COVID-19 may have influenced the low figures, as more people have been staying home and physically distancing for several months. Gallup noted, however, that the victimization rate was falling before the health crisis arrived.

"What separates 2020 from recent years is that the occurrence of the seven crimes has been concentrated in a more limited number of U.S. households," Gallup added.

"This year, nearly as many Americans (9%) report their household has been victimized by two or more crimes as say it has been victimized by one (11%). From 2015 to 2019, the average gap in multiple-crime households (9%) and one-crime households (16%) was seven points."

Thursday's survey also showed that declines in victimization rates were seen across a range of demographics, compared to a combined average from 2018 and 2019. Both urban (down 6%) and rural residents (-4%) saw a decline in crime, as did low-income (-6%), middle-income (-5%) and upper-income (-3%) households.

Gallup polled U.S. adults between Sept. 30 and Oct. 15 for the survey, which has a margin of error of 4 points.

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