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Social & Policy Issues
Americans' Worries About Most Crimes Similar to 2015
Social & Policy Issues

Americans' Worries About Most Crimes Similar to 2015

Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • Identity theft and credit card hacking remain greatest worries
  • Worries about terrorism up 8 points from 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans are about as worried as they were last year about being victims of a host of different crimes. Their fears have increased on three of the 13 crimes that Gallup asked them about in both years: being a victim of terrorism, being attacked while driving and getting mugged.

Americans' Worries About Various Crimes, 2015 vs. 2016
How often do you, yourself, worry about the following things -- frequently, occasionally, rarely or never? How about ... ?
  2015 2016 Change
  % Frequently or occasionally worry % Frequently or occasionally worry (pct. pts.)
Being a victim of terrorism 27 35 8
Being attacked while driving your car 17 23 6
Getting mugged 25 30 5
Your home being burglarized when you are not there 39 43 4
Being sexually assaulted 16 20 4
Having your car stolen or broken into 40 43 3
Being the victim of a hate crime 19 22 3
Being a victim of identity theft 69 70 1
Having a school-aged child of yours physically harmed while attending school 33 34 1
Your home being burglarized when you are there 25 26 1
Getting murdered 17 18 1
Being assaulted/killed by a coworker/employee where you work 7 8 1
Having the credit card information you have used at stores stolen by computer hackers 69 69 0
Having your email, passwords or electronic records hacked into -- 64 --
Oct. 5-9, 2016

Worries about nearly all of these crimes have varied since Gallup first asked about them in 2000, but almost all are within three percentage points of their historical averages. One issue -- fear of being the victim of a hate crime -- is on the high end of its 13% to 22% range since 2000 and is up three points from last year, but this is within the margin of error.

Crimes that Gallup introduced to the list in more recent years -- identity theft (70%) and credit card hacking (69%) -- have not varied much, and remain atop the list of Americans' crime worries. Concerns about email and password hacking (64%), new to the list this year, also rank near the top of the list.

Worries About Being Victim of Terrorism at Highest Since 2009

More than a third of Americans (35%) say they frequently or occasionally worry about being a victim of terrorism, the highest since 2009, when the same percentage reported this level of worry. This is not as high, however, as concerns about terrorism in the first five years after 9/11, which ranged from 38% to 47% -- the latter being the high reached immediately after the terrorist attacks.

Trend: Percentage of Americans Who Report "Frequently" or "Occasionally" Worrying About Being a Victim of Terrorism

Increased concern about terrorism this year comes after a shooter in San Bernardino, California, took 14 lives last December and a shooter in Orlando, Florida, killed 49 people in June -- the latter being the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Bottom Line

For the most part, Americans' worries about being the victim of a variety of crimes are at about their respective averages, and none of them have decreased since last year. Gallup reports that household crime victimization is at a new high and Americans' perceptions of crime in the U.S. remain elevated.

Americans slightly favor law and order when it comes to the priorities of the criminal justice system, and President-elect Donald Trump's emphasis on this in the 2016 campaign may have been a factor in his success at the ballot box. If, as president, he is successful in bringing a greater sense of general security for Americans, their concerns about various crimes may decrease.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 5-9, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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