Perhaps few decisions have more of an impact on the operational functioning of the criminal justice system than the decision by victims of crime to notify the police. Researchers in the United States and abroad have found that victims often choose not to mobilize the criminal law in the aftermath of a victimization event. A large percentage of property and violent crimes never appear in official crime data estimates. Most remain hidden in the dark figure of crime. Victim nonreporting has numerous implications for criminal justice system processing, crime control policy, and substantive research on the causes and correlates of crime. Studies have long sought to identify the victim-, incident-, and community-based mechanisms that might account for patterns of police notification. Although several important findings have emerged, critical questions remain unanswered. This article provides a critical overview of the determinants of victim nonreporting and charts potential avenues for future research.


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