is completed based on the details of the most recent incident. BJS excludes these series victimizations from its standard NCVS estimates, although basic counts of series and nonseries victimizations are tabulated (see, e.g., Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006a:Table 110).

Prior to the NCVS redesign in 1992, the threshold for defining a series victimization was three or more similar incidents. The change in threshold provides for somewhat fuller accounting of crime types in which repeated victimization may occur; as in the previous section, domestic violence and intimate partner violence are examples in which this may apply. We know of no research that has estimated the effect of the redesign on the reporting of series victimizations—that is, over and above the emphasis on more effective screening and elicitation of incidents, whether the NCVS instrument is more likely to generate reports of crimes for which series victimization rules would apply. Still, the manner in which series victimizations are collected and counted is an important methodological concern, one that leads to concern about whether some crimes are underestimated as a result.

The Rand and Rennison (2005) results indicate that individually counting series victimizations can help bring the NCVS more into line with other surveys. The scope and effect of series victimizations are also analyzed by Lynch et al. (1998) and Planty (2007); Planty and Strom (2007) compare the effects of different counting rules with resulting instability in the estimates.

Some have used the panel design of the NCVS to estimate repeat victimization. This is a difficult analysis because residential mobility contributes to attrition from the panel, and victimization contributes to residential mobility. Naive panel estimates may underestimate repeat victimization because they undercount victimization of those who have moved and been lost from the survey. Ybarra and Lohr (2002) impute victimization rates to respondents who are lost to residential mobility. They obtain very high repeated rates for violent crime and domestic violence, but these estimates are highly sensitive to the missing data model.


In Section 2–D we discussed the long-standing goal of analytic flexibility of the NCVS, being able to accommodate different types of products. In this section, we expand the discussion of flexibility to include emerging issues in topic areas covered by the NCVS (principally through the use of supplements) and in general methodology.

Is the NCVS Flexible Regarding Changes in Victimization?

As a survey-based method of data collection, the NCVS has the capacity to be a relatively timely and flexible instrument for gathering information

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