• Report

Victimizations not reported to the police, 2006-2010


Langton, L., Berzofsky, M., Krebs, C., & Smiley McDonald, H. (2012). Victimizations not reported to the police, 2006-2010. (National Crime Victimization Survey. Special Report. NCJ 238536). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.


During the period from 2006 to 2010, 52% of all violent victimizations, or an annual average of 3,382,200 violent victimizations, were not reported to the police. Of these, over a third (34%) went unreported because the victim dealt with the crime in another way, such as reporting it to another official, like a guard, manager, or school official (figure 1). Almost 1 in 5 unreported violent victimizations (18%) were not reported because the victim believed the crime was not important enough.

When crimes are not reported to the police, victims may not be able to obtain necessary services to cope with the victimization, offenders may go unpunished, and law enforcement and community resources may be misallocated due to a lack of accurate information about local crime problems. Understanding the characteristics of crimes unknown to police, victims who do not report crimes, and the reasons these crimes are not reported may help identify gaps in the provision of criminal justice services and inform police practice and policies. Using data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, this report examines trends in the types of crime not reported to police, the characteristics of unreported victimizations, and the victims’ rationale for not reporting these crimes.