Violent Crime Continues to Decline, Though Rape and Sexual Assault Levels Off

In August, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released the results of the 2002 National Crime Victimization Survey. Crime rates from the latest NCVS survey were the lowest ever recorded since the survey began in 1973.

The number of rapes and sexual assaults remained largely unchanged from 2001, however, at 0.4 per 1,000. Comparing the two year averages from 1999-2000 to 2001-2002, rape and sexual assault were slightly lower in the latter period. Although rapes and sexual assault seems to have stabilized (in part because the rate is so low that it is difficult to detect changes), the rape and sexual assault rate in the United States has fallen 56 percent since 1993.

Moreover, the level of reporting of rape and sexual assault to police has steadily risen during the same period.

Sources:

Criminal Victimization, 2002 August 2003, NCJ 199994.

US crime hits 30-year low. The BBC, August 25, 2003.

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