Crime victims by age: The real data shows those 50 and above have surprisingly high numbers

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Elderly man by is licensed under Canva
Originally written for Crime in America. Republished with permission.
 

We may want to rethink our traditional assessment of older individuals as being safe from violent and property crimes. Those in the 50-65 and above groups have disturbingly high numbers.

Rates doubled for serious violent crimes for those aged 50 and above. Are older individuals being targeted by criminal offenders?

Data Used

What’s below is data from the FBI (crimes reported to law enforcement).

Even though this article is based on crimes reported to law enforcement compiled by the FBI in 2022 (latest data), violent crime rates and totals from the 2022 National Crime Victimization Survey are important for understanding the impact of violent crime on groups.

Background

This is the eleventh in a series offering data from the FBI’s latest crime reports based on crimes reported to law enforcement. The first was Locations Of Violent Crime-Where Crime Happens.  The second was The Time Of Day For Violent And Property Crimes. The third was Violent Crime Totals By State. The fourth was Violent Crime Victims By Race And Ethnicity-Who’s Victimized Most? The fifth was Are Females Violently Victimized More Than Males? The sixth is Most People Are Violently Victimized By Family Members Or People They Know. The seventh is 10 Percent Of Violent Victimizations Involved A Firearm-Weapons Used During Crime. The eighth is Most Crimes Are Not Solved-Why? The ninth is 250,000 Attempted But Failed Property Crimes Per The FBI-Reasons Why. The tenth is What Causes Murders And Aggravated Assaults?

Most Crimes Are Not Reported

Per the National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the US Department of Justice, only 42 percent of violent crimes are reported to law enforcement.

Thirty-two percent of property crimes are reported.

Nevertheless, the numbers below from the FBI are some of the best indicators we have regarding the total number of “reported” crimes and the characteristics of those crimes.

A basic tenet of criminology is that those in younger age brackets have higher rates of violent crime. While true, we need to dig a little deeper.

I once wrote that criminal offenders victimize the vulnerable. The disabled have very high rates of criminal victimization along with mixed-race individuals and the poor. The rate of violent victimization against persons with disabilities was nearly four times the rate for persons without disabilities.

A reader wrote that I also need to include those 50 and above in the category of “most victimized.” As a police officer, I encountered older victims of crime who were profoundly traumatized by their experience.

The 2022 National Crime Victimization Survey in its latest report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the US Department of Justice stated that rates doubled for serious violent crimes for those aged 50 and above. Per that report (ignored by the media) rates for violent crime increased by 44 percent, the largest increase in the nation’s history.

Data From The FBI-Crimes Reported To Law Enforcement

Yes, categories of younger people are victimized more than categories of those 50 years of age and above. However, those in the 50-65 and above groups have disturbingly high numbers.

Per the chart below from the FBI, overall violent and property crimes are clustered (I use rounded numbers) in the 21-40 age brackets but, for those in the 51 to 66 and above, there were 2,571,000 crimes, far outweighing individual age brackets for the 21-40 age group.

Crimes against persons are clustered in the 16-40 age group but, for those 51-66 and above, there were 530,000 violent crimes, far outweighing individual age brackets for the 16-40 age group.

Crimes against property are clustered in the 21-50 age groups with significant exceptions. Those age 65 and over had the highest rates of embezzlement, the third highest number for extortions, the highest number for fraud, and the fourth highest number for stolen property.



Data From The National Crime Victimization Survey

Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’s National Crime Victimization Survey for 2022 (latest report-a measure of total crime) shows that younger individuals have much higher rates of violence and serious violence than older people.

However, those 50-64 have almost the same rate of serious violent crime (excluding simple assault) as those 12-17.

For 2021, for all violent crimes (including simple assaults), those 50-64 had a violence rate of 16.9 while the 12-17 age group had a violence rate of 13.2

Conclusions

Yes, younger people have higher rates of violent and property crime than older individuals.

However, the numbers from the FBI and National Crime Victimization Survey carry concern, especially the very high FBI numbers for embezzlement, extortion, fraud, and stolen property for those 65 and above.

Rates doubled for serious violent crimes for those aged 50 and above per the National Crime Victimization Survey.

The FBI numbers for overall crime, violent, and property crime for those 50-65 and above seem disturbingly high. 

The National Crime Victimization Survey indicates that those in the 50-64 age group have rates of overall violence and serious violence similar to or higher than those of teenagers.

We may want to rethink our traditional assessment of older individuals as safe from violent and property crimes.

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The opinions reflected in this article are not necessarily the opinions of LET
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