The Justice Department’s NCVS API Opens Access to Crime Victimization Data

Eric Carter, May 28th, 2013

The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has released an API for access to National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data: NCVS API. NCVS data includes the frequency, characteristics and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States compiled on an annual basis. The API constitutes one of many steps the federal government plans to make in an attempt to open access to data. When announcing the Federal Digital Strategy, President Obama exclaimed:

“I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives.”


The NCVS API helps answer the President’s inquiry, because the NCVS datasets are simply to large to manually digest. Almost 80,000 households and more than 143,000 individuals are interviewed each year to build the NCVS database. The API allows developers to programmatically locate and consume the targeted data.

The NCVS API uses REST protocol and returns calls in either an XML or JSON data format. Developers can call incidents on a personal or household basis. The NCVS database includes the largest national forum for victims to describe the impact of crime and characteristics of violent offenders. To learn more or gain access to the API visit the API site.

With projects like Digital Government and the Open Data Policy, our governing bodies have started to realize the value of ubiquitous data access. The NCVS API represents a significant step towards government transparency through open access to data. Visit BJS to learn more on further open data projects.

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