Location of Juvenile and Adult Property Crime Victimizations

David Finkelhor and Richard Ormrod, OJJDP

Download SPSS syntax

This example looks at the location of property and violent offenses, comparing the percentage of offenses committed by juveniles and adults.  This table uses 1996 and 1997 data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), but can also be derived using NIBRS data.  NOTE: The location categories have been modified to reflect NIBRS categories; "own home/residence" and "other's home/residence" have been combined and "near own home/residence" has been removed.  To create this table, location variables were grouped into categories. Offenses were divided into property and violent crimes, and then matched to juvenile and adult age categories.  A cross-tabulation can then be created.  When using this code, be sure to insert the path and the file name of the data file to be used, as well as the directory and file name for saving.  If you need any assistance working with the syntax provided, please contact us.

The assumptions for the following example of code are:
  1. The data file was created as described in "Reading A Multi-Level Data File."
  2. An aggregated flat file was created as described in "Creating An Incident-Level Aggregated Flat File in SPSS"; and
  3. The individual data segments were saved in separate files as described in "Creating An Incident-Level Aggregated Flat File in SPSS".

Preparing the File.  The unit of analysis for this research question is the victim.  To provide incident-level details, the incident-level flat file is merged with the victim segment.   In order to create the age group variable, the RECODE command groups the variable v_age into three age group categories and creates a new variable called agegrp.  Juveniles include any victim between the ages of 10 and 17.  Adults are victims age 18 or older.  In UCR, age 99 was coded as missing information; due to data quality issues, the 99 code is not used in the adult age group.  The MISSING VALUES command defines zero as missing or not applicable for the current example.  VALUE LABELS defines labels for the variable agegrp.

GET FILE='Directory\Path\victim segment 1999.sav'.
RECODE v_age (10 thru 17 = 1)(18 thru 99 = 2)(else = 0)INTO agegrp.
  1 'Juveniles'  2 'Adults'.

In order to create the offense group variable, the RECODE groups the most serious violent offense variable (msvoff) into three offense categories and creates a new variable called msvoffgp.  The MISSING VALUES command defines zero as other offense and will not be used in the current example.  VALUE LABELS defines labels for the new variable msvoffgp.

RECODE msvoff (90,100,120,130 = 1)(140,160,167,150 = 2)(else = 0)INTO msvoffgp.
  1 'Violent Crimes'  2 'Property Crimes'  0 'Missing/Not Applicable'.

To display the victim age groups and offense groups with the incident location, it is necessary to merge the victim file with the incident file.  The SELECT IF command selects out only those victim records where the victim age group is juvenile or adult and the most serious victim offense is a person or property offense.  The data are sorted on ori and inc_num for merging with the incident file.  The file is saved, keeping only the variables necessary for the analysis.  This significantly reduces the size of the file and consequently reduces the time needed for the analysis.

SELECT IF (msvoffgp gt 0 and agegrp gt 0).
SORT CASES BY ori (A) inc_num (A).
SAVE OUTFILE = 'Directory\Path\Table5 victim segment.sav'/KEEP = ori inc_num msvoff v_age agegrp msvoffgp.
GET FILE = 'Directory\Path\Table5 victim segment.sav'.

The MATCH FILES command joins the victim file with the incident file.  The DROP subcommand eliminates variables that will not be used in the analysis.

  /TABLE='Directory\Path\Incident 1999.sav'
  /BY ori inc_num
  /DROP inc_yr inc_mo inc_dy inc_hr rptdate aggasl arfemale arr0509 arr1017 arr1524 arr65 arr_cnt arradult arrmale asl_arr att_comp bur bur_arr clr_arr clr_excp firearm indivl lar lar_arr msioff mur mur_arr mvt mvt_arr oasl_arr off1017 off1524 off65 off_cnt offadult offemale offmale ofns_cnt oth_asl rap rap_arr rob rob_arr vadult vage1017 vage1524 vage65 vfemale vic_cnt vic_inj vlt18 vmale.

To create the incident location variable, the RECODE groups the variable inc_loc into six location categories and creates a new variable called location.  VALUE LABELS defines labels to the new variable location.

RECODE inc_loc  (20 = 1)(2,3,5,7,8,9,12,17,21,23,24 = 2)(18 = 3)(22 = 4)(1,10,13,16 = 5)
(else = 6)INTO location.
VARIABLE LABELS location 'Type of Location'
1 'Residence'  2 'Commercial Place'  3 'Parking Facility'  4 'School'   5 'Open Area, Street, Public Transportation'  6 'Other Place'.

Producing the Output.  The TEMPORARY and the VARIABLE LABELS commands turn off the variable labels for the TABLES command.  The TABLES command defines the tables for displaying the results.  For this table the location variable is placed in the stub of the table.  Victim age group is NESTED under the offense group variables in the table banner (columns).  Column percentages were selected to view the difference between juveniles and adults at different locations.

  VARIABLE LABELS msvoffgp " agegrp ".
  /FTOTAL=$t000001 "Total"
  /TABLE=location + $t000001 BY msvoffgp > agegrp
  CPCT( agegrp( PCT5.0 ) ":msvoffgp agegrp )
  /TITLE 'Location of Juvenile' + 'and Adult Crime Victimizations'.

The resulting table looks like this:

location_victimization.jpg (38459 bytes)