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1 in 4 American Households Victimized by Crime: Gallup Poll

By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 10, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A recent Gallup poll finds that about one in four American households includes someone who's been victimized by crime -- a figure that's remained fairly constant over the past decade.

According to a Gallup study from 2000 to 2014, between 22 and 27 percent of households have reported being victimized by crime over the last 14 years. Victimization on the individual level has been slightly less reported, with between 14 and 19 percent of Americans claiming to be individual victims of crime.

What do these numbers mean for the average American, and which crimes are the most common?

Top 7 Crimes in the U.S.

Gallup collected information from both individuals and households about the most reported crimes in America, which are as follows:

  1. Stolen money or property.
  2. Vandalism.
  3. Burglary.
  4. Auto theft.
  5. Muggings and assaults.
  6. Robbery.
  7. Sexual assault.

While stolen money or property was the most reported incident per household (15 percent), about one in seven American households reported being the victim of some form of vandalism. This doesn't seem as shocking when you consider that vandalism subsumes stupid pranks like houses being toilet-papered and cars covered in shaving cream. It may be more comforting to know that according to the Gallup poll, only 2 percent of Americans reported being mugged or physically assaulted in the last 12 months.

What About Cyber Crimes?

The list above may look much different when Gallup or similar researchers begin including cyber crimes like identity theft, computer hacking, or even cyber bullying. In fact, Gallup reports that 27 percent of households have "been affected by stolen credit card information" like in the Target or Home Depot data breaches.

But while two-thirds of property or physical crimes are reported to police, Gallup estimates less than half of cyber crime victims make reports to law enforcement. Making a police report can expedite the process of recovering from credit card fraud or identity theft, but perhaps many Americans keep the issue between them and their banks.

Perhaps in another 10 years, cyber crimes will top the list.

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