What is the definition of violent crime?

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Violent crime is defined as a crime in which violence is perpetuated or threatened against the victim. It is important to note that the threat of violence is enough to constitute violence.

Examples of violent crime are murder, rape, and assault, to name just a few. A crime like robbery could be violent or non-violent, depending on the circumstances. For example, if somebody broke into your home and robbed you while you were out of town, it would be a non-violent robbery. However, if someone came to rob your home while you were there, and beat you up or held you at gunpoint (even without shooting), then that constitutes a violent crime.

The prior record of a criminal has no bearing on whether or not a crime is violent. If a first-time perpetrator holds a family up at gunpoint, it still constitutes a violent crime.

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Violent crime is crime in which the perpetrator either commits violence against the victim or threatens to do so.  The violence can be the whole point of the crime (as in assault or murder) or it can just be a means to achieving the real point of the crime (as in robbery).  Either way, violence has been used or threatened and therefore the crime is a violent crime.

As the fbi.gov link below shows us, there are four types of violent crime as defined by the Uniform Crime Reporting Program.  These types of crime are

  • Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter
  • Forcible (as opposed to statutory) rape
  • Aggravated assault
  • Robbery


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