The Justice Department’s newly released National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) for 2012 shows single people were victims of violent crime at a significantly higher rate than married people in America.
The NCVS asks roughly 160,000 people whether they were victims of violent crimes including rape, robbery, assault, and domestic violence. That survey arguably provides a fuller picture of violent crime than the FBI’s annual crime survey since it includes incidents that were never reported to the cops.
In 2012, the NCVS found, married people had 13.5 violent crime victimizations per 1,000 people compared to a rate of 37.0 for those who are divorced, 40.7 for people who never married, and 83.1 for separated people.
It makes sense that single people would be more vulnerable to violent crime since they tend to be out in public and alone more than married people, Radford University criminal justice professor Dr. Tod Burke told us. Married couples are more likely to canoodle at home or hang out with other couples, while single people tend to go out more (often to try to meet other single people).
Young people — who are also likely to be out and about and single for that matter — also have higher rates of crime victimization, Burke points out. Americans between the age of 18 and 24 have a crime victimization rate of 63.8 per 1,000 people compared to a low rate of 3.1 for people older than 65 (who presumably spend more time in the safety of their own home).
“Violent crimes are a crime of opportunity,” Burke said. “When you put yourself out there, you have provided the opportunity.”
The NCVS provides just the latest good news for married people. Last month, the Journal of Clinical Oncology reported that married cancer patients lived longer than single ones. And Michigan State University scientists published research last year showing that marriage could protect people from normal declines in happiness during adulthood.