One in Four Americans Have Experienced Cybercrime
Among the seven types of physical or property crimes measured in the poll, the most likely type of crime to affect Americans was property theft, with 14% reporting being victimized in this way, Gallup said. One other property crime had an impact on more than 10% of the public this past year, with 11% reporting vandalism of a home, vehicle or property. Meanwhile, the percentages experiencing a home break-in or auto theft are in the low single-digits.
Americans' reports of violent crimes remain low, with a net 4% saying they or someone in their household has been a victim of a violent offense. The most common violent crime experienced by the public is muggings or physical assaults, with 2% saying that has occurred to them or someone in their household in the past year. One percent report that they or a member of their household had money or property taken by force, the same number who reported sexual assault, Gallup said.
Gallup summarizes Americans' experiences with crime by computing the percentage who have been the victim of any crime in the past year. Because cybercrime and identity theft were only added recently and have been asked inconsistently, the summary measure is based on the seven physical or property crimes asked consistently since 2000.
Gallup has previously found that Americans are more concerned about falling victim to cybercrime or identity theft than any other forms of criminal activity. Seventy-one percent of Americans worry about cybercrime and 67% about identity theft. The public's level of worry about these two types of crimes is substantially higher than worry about any other type of criminal activity and, based on their reported levels of victimization, is justified, Gallup said. This is confirmed by federal law enforcement reports, which indicate there were 2.7 million victims of identity theft and fraud in 2017 alone and 30% of U.S. consumers were affected by data breaches last year as well.
"Alternatively, Americans' fears about violent crime are supported less by reported incidences of the offenses," Gallup said. "Four percent of Americans say they or someone in their households have been the victim of a violent crime and only 1% of the public say they themselves have been the victim of this type of offense. While FBI statics concerning reported crime for 2018 will not be released until next year, the numbers for 2017 show violent crime remains rare in the U.S., with 392.9 incidents of violent crimes being reported per 100,000 residents in 2017 -- or roughly four of every 1,000 people."