Crime Victims by Age Widespread-Those Age 66 and Above Have High Numbers


Those age 66 and above have the highest raw numbers for burglary-breaking and entering and other categories.

Violent crime is concentrated for victims in the 16-35 age brackets, but the numbers are at (or close to) 100,000 victimizations for those age 11-50. That’s a remarkable spread for criminal victimization.


By Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.

Thirty-five years of supervising public affairs for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Management for the National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Master’s degree-Johns Hopkins University.


The chart below offers data as to the age of victims of crime. It’s presented by the FBI and their National Incident-Based Reporting System.

Note that these are raw numbers;  rates may provide a different perspective.

The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is an effort on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to collect better, higher quality data than the current Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), the study that tells us if crime has increased or decreased.

Note that the data is based on crimes reported to police, not a measure of all crime. Approximately half of violent crimes (47 percent) are reported to police per the National Crime Victimization Survey.

Age of Victims

When I began my law enforcement and criminology careers, I was told that crime is a young person’s game both from an offender and victim’s perspective. We may have to rethink this observation based on the numbers below.

When you look at the age of victims via raw numbers, there is a surprising amount of crime being directed to all within the 16 to 55 age groups (above 300,000 crimes).

For example, there were 321,000 victims of crime in the 16-20 age bracket but 318,00 crimes for those 51-55.

The major difference is violent crime, which jumps considerably for those 16-20 (151,000 total) but stays well above 100,000 for those age 36-40. Violent crime peaks (195,000) for those 21-25. Note that the (NIBRS) data designates robbery as a crime against property.

Thus violent crime is concentrated for victims in the 16-35 age brackets but the numbers are at (or close to) 100,000 victimizations for those 11-50. That’s a remarkable spread for violent criminal victimization and should give pause to those in older age brackets.

Remarkable Numbers for Victims 66 and Above

Property crimes for those 66 and above are higher than all age groups except those age 21-30.

Those age 66 and above have the highest number of fraud offenses. They also have the largest numbers for embezzlement and counterfeiting/forgery.

Those age 66 and above have the highest raw numbers for burglary and breaking and entering; no other group comes close. They also have the highest numbers for arson. Burglaries often take a profound toll on victims thus this may be an unrecognized social issue that needs to be addressed.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that crime and violent crime is a factor for all age groups; older individuals are not immune to violent victimization.

But the raw numbers for those 66 and above for property crimes and burglary are surprising; additional resources need to be directed to this age group as to crime prevention and victim services.

We will offer an article soon as to the age of those going to prison and even there, there is a surprising spread of age groups.

Where the Data Comes From

The FBI released details on more than 5.6 million criminal offenses reported via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for 2015. The report includes what the bureau calls “a diverse range of information about victims, known offenders, and relationships for 23 offense categories comprised of 49 offenses.”

It also includes arrest data for those offense categories plus 10 more offenses for which only arrest data are collected.

NIBRS currently is used by 36 percent of law enforcement agencies that take part in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program.

Because it offers a better picture of crime, NIBRS is supposed to replace the UCR (the current reporting program) by 2021.

See chart below:

Crime in America at

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