Box 1-2

Notable Reductions in the National Crime Victimization Survey

  • 1977: The commercial component of the National Crime Surveys—including measurement of commercial burglary and robbery—is eliminated, principally for budgetary reasons but also due to the inadequacy of the business sampling frame.

  • January 1980: Personal visit interviewing is reduced and telephone interviewing introduced. Interview 1 with a household is still required to be conducted in person, but interviews 2, 4, and 6 are directed to be conducted by telephone to the extent possible.

  • June 1984: A sample size cut is made, resulting in the reduction of nonself-representing strata from 220 to 153 and a 20 percent reduction in the larger of the 153 self-representing primary selection units. According to the Demographic Surveys Division, U.S. Census Bureau (2007b:25), this cut was imposed “so that funds could be redirected to pay for redesign research.”

  • February 1986: Due to budget problems, reinterview activities are suspended for one month and reduced by half for seven additional months.

  • March 1986: To reduce costs, the protocol for personal visit interviewing rather than by telephone is revisited. Telephone interviewing for rotation groups 3 and 7 is increased, with only interviews 1 and 5 slated for personal visit.

  • Second half, 1992: Due to funding constraints, discussions begin with the Census Bureau on possible ways to reduce the costs of the NCVS. To cut costs, reinterviews were stopped for one month in August 1992, and a 10 percent sample size reduction was implemented in October 1992 (affecting both the groups receiving the NCVS and NCS questionnaires).

  • October 1996: A 12 percent sample cut is imposed, due to budget constraints. The cut came after a summer of some computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) follow-up work (for noninterviews) being suspended due to a budget impasse and was suggested by the Census Bureau (along with two other options) as a “two-year plan.”

  • July 2000: Lifestyle and home protection questions are dropped from the screener portion of the questionnaire.

  • April 2002: The NCVS sample is reduced by 4 percent.

  • January 2006: The NCVS sample reduced by 16 percent.

  • July 2007: Due to budget constraints, three major changes are slated to occur in summer 2007: (1) use data from the first interview—previously withheld as a “bounding” case—in annual estimates, (2) implement a 14 percent sample cut, as a balance for using the bounding first interviews, and (3) suspend all computer-assisted telephone interviewing from Census Bureau call centers (however, field interviewers may still use the telephone to conduct their scheduled interviews).

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