Do older adults (65+) have higher rates of criminal victimization than adults under 65?
No. Although the media may leave the impression that older adults are a major target of violent crime, annual data from the national Crime Victimization Surveys consistently indicate that violent crime, personal theft, and household victimization rates for persons aged 65 and older are the lowest of any age group. Data indicate that this holds true for virtually all categories of criminal victimization: rape, robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, and personal larceny without contact. Only for the category of personal larceny with contact (e.g., purse snatching and pocket picking) is the victimization rate higher for persons aged 65 and over compared to those aged 25 to 64. Nevertheless, the health and financial consequences may be greater for the older victim.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Monday, July 07, 2008