Victims of crime
The main facts and figures show that:
15% of people aged 16 and over in England and Wales were victims of at least one crime in 2015/16 – a fall of 2% compared with 2013/14
in 2015/16, a higher percentage of people from the Mixed, Asian and Black ethnic groups were victims of crime compared with White people
Things you need to know
These figures are based on the annual Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).
The CSEW is a face-to-face survey in which people aged 16 or over living in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of a selected range of criminal offences in the previous 12 months.
The CSEW is able to capture a broad range of victim-based crimes experienced by those interviewed, not just those that have been reported to (and recorded by) the police. However, some offences such as homicide and sexual offences are not included in its main estimates.
Since October 2015, the survey has included fraud and computer misuse. However, as data from before this point is not available, the statistics and commentary presented here exclude fraud and computer misuse offences.
Keep in mind when making comparisons between ethnic groups that all survey estimates are subject to a degree of uncertainty. This is because they are based on a sample of the population. The degree of uncertainty is greater when the number of respondents is small, so it will be highest for ethnic minority groups.
Estimates based on fewer than 50 responses are excluded, as they are considered less reliable.
To increase the reliability of the data when broken down by gender, age group and socio-economic group, the ONS combines data for each year into a 3-year average.
These statistics are estimates based on the sample of people who took part in the survey, and may not reflect the whole population. You should therefore use caution when interpreting them.
The CSEW does not include:
- people living in communal establishments (such as care homes, student halls of residence and prisons):
- crimes against commercial or public sector bodies
What the data measures
This data measures the proportion of the population who reported being victims of an offence one or more times in the 12 months prior to interview. This is known as the prevalence rate.
Prevalence rates measure whether a household or person was a victim of at least one crime in the period covered by the survey. They do not measure the specific number of times a household or person was a victim.
These figures are based on information from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), for which respondents and their households are designated either as victims or non-victims.
The proportion of victims provides the prevalence rate, often described as the risk of being a victim of crime.
The ethnic categories used in this data
Where possible, this data is broken down by the 18 ethnic categories listed in the 2011 Census. There's a separate category for respondents whose ethnicity wasn't known.
The 2011 Census categories are as follows:
- English/ Welsh/ Scottish/ Northern Irish/ British
- Gypsy, Traveller or Irish Traveller
- Any other White background
Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:
- White and Black Caribbean
- White and Black African
- White and Asian
- Any other Mixed/ Multiple ethnic background
- Any other Asian background
- Any other Black/African/Caribbean background
Other ethnic group:
- Any other ethnic group
To analyse the data by gender, age group and socio-economic group, the Office for National Statistics uses the following 5 broad ethnic categories:
- Asian / Asian British
- Black / African / Caribbean / Black British
- Mixed / Multiple ethnic groups
- Other ethnic group
Victims of crime by ethnicity over time
Percentage and number of people who were victims of crime by ethnicity over time
|Black other||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||45||28||57||31||61|
|Mixed White/Black African||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||46||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||45||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||44|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||29||120||29||98||21||135|
|White Gypsy/Traveller||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||12||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||10||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||15|
This data shows that:
between 2013/14 and 2015/16, the percentage of White adults who were victims of at least one crime fell from 17% to 15% – no other ethnic group experienced a meaningful change in levels of crime
although the data shows a reduction in the percentage of people of Mixed ethnicity who were victims of crime – and an increase for people from the Other ethnic group – sample sizes for these groups were small, so any generalisations based on these results are very unreliable
Victims of crime by ethnicity and gender
Percentage and number of people who were victims of crime by ethnicity and gender
This data shows that:
White men were more likely than White women to be victims of crime
although the chart and table show some differences between men and women in the Mixed, Asian and Other ethnic groups, sample sizes for these groups are small, so any generalisations based on these results are very unreliable
Victims of crime by ethnicity and age group
Percentage and number of people who were victims of crime by ethnicity and age group
|65-74||14||360||8||165||4||62||9||15,889||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||43|
|75+||13||147||7||142||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||28||6||12,987||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||29|
This data shows that:
on average, across all ethnic groups, younger people were more likely to experience crime than older people
among the White, Black and Mixed ethnic groups, experience of crime went down as age increased
people aged 16 to 24 years from the White and Mixed ethnic groups were more likely to experience crime than people of the same age from the Asian and Other ethnic groups
in the 25 to 34 age group, people of Mixed ethnicity were more likely to be victims of crime than people of the same age from all other ethnic groups
although the data shows other differences based on ethnicity and age group, sample sizes are small so any generalisations based on these results are very unreliable
Victims of crime by ethnicity and socio-economic group
Percentage and number of people who were victims of crime by ethnicity and socio-economic group
|Managerial and professional occupations||20||1,653||20||806||32||339||16||32,267||22||196|
|Routine and manual occupations||16||1,467||17||1,004||22||311||15||33,752||16||177|
|Never worked and long-term unemployed||13||602||12||235||18||57||18||2,848||16||106|
|Full time students||18||423||21||223||25||101||22||2,463||7||106|
|Not classified||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||42||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||25||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||5||14||508||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||2|
This data shows that:
in the Asian, Black and Mixed ethnicity groups, a higher percentage of people in managerial or professional jobs experienced crime compared with people of the same ethnicity in long-term unemployment
however, White people in long-term unemployment were more likely to be victims of crime than people of the same ethnicity in managerial and professional jobs
among full-time students, those from the Other ethnic group were least likely to be victims of crime
CSEW estimates are based on analysis of structured face-to-face interviews carried out using computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI). In 2015/16, the response rate was 72%.
The CSEW is a household sample survey and, as such, estimates are based on a representative sample of the population of England and Wales aged 16 and over. A sample, as used in the CSEW, is a small-scale representation of the population from which it is drawn.
Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.
For example, a survey which contains 25% women and 75% men will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know has an even 50/50 split.
Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.
Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population.
The CSEW collects information from approximately 35,000 households each year. Since those responses reflect only a fraction of the total population of England and Wales, a process is used to give different weights to different households and individuals based on their sex, age and region, in such a way that the weighted distribution of responding household and individuals in these households matches the known distribution in the population as a whole.
First, weights are applied to the raw data to compensate for:
- unequal address selection probabilities (given, some areas are more populated than others)
- the observed variation in response rates between different types of neighbourhood
- situations in which only one dwelling unit can be selected in multiple ‘dwelling unit' households
- different probabilities of a respondent being selected based on different sized households
Second, calibration weighting is used to make adjustments for known differentials in response rates between different regions and between different age by six sub-groups.
The National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) categorises members of the adult public in the UK according to their occupational status.
The NS-SEC categories are:
- managerial and professional occupations
- intermediate occupations (clerical, sales, service)
- routine and manual occupations
- never worked and long-term unemployed
- full-time students
- not classified
Suppression rules and disclosure control
Estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales have National Statistics status.
National Statistics are a subset of official statistics which have been certified by the UK Statistics Authority as compliant with its Code of Practice for Official Statistics, including requirements on disclosure control. Estimates based on a number of respondents (known as the 'unweighted base') that is less than 50 are suppressed as these estimates are deemed to be less reliable.
Estimates in the charts and tables are given to the nearest whole number.
You can see more detailed estimates (rounded to 1 decimal place) if you download the data.
Further technical information
Since the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is based on a sample of the population, estimates have a margin of quantifiable and non-quantifiable error associated with them.
Non-quantifiable error includes:
- when respondents have recalled crimes in the reference period that actually occurred outside that period
- crimes that did occur in the reference period that were not mentioned at all (either because respondents failed to recall a fairly trivial incident or, conversely, because they did not want to disclose an incident, such as a domestic assault)
- respondents saying they reported crimes to police when they did not (a “socially desirable” response)
- some incidents reported during the interview being miscoded (‘interviewer or coder error’)
Type of data
Type of statistic
Purpose of data source
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is used alongside crime data recorded by police to provide government with information about the extent and nature of crime in England and Wales.
The survey records all types of crimes experienced by people, including those crimes that may not have been reported to the police.