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Cybercrimes Remain Most Worrisome to Americans

The frequency with which Americans worry about becoming the victim of a variety of different crimes is similar to last year, as they remain much more likely to fear being victimized by cybercrimes than traditional crimes. Of the 13 crimes measured, only two garner majority-level concern from Americans — 71% say they frequently or occasionally fear that computer hackers will access their personal, credit card or financial information and 67% worry this often about identity theft.

Gallup has gauged Americans’ frequency of worry about a host of crimes annually since 2000, most recently Oct. 1-10. The rank order of the crimes most worrisome to Americans has been generally quite stable since 2009 when Gallup first included worry about identity theft on the list. Since then, identify theft has consistently outpaced anxiety about other non-cybercrimes, with an average 68% saying they “frequently” or “occasionally” worry that they will be victims of it.

When Gallup added computer hacking to the list of crimes last year, it joined identity theft atop the list of worries. As Americans have become increasingly reliant on digital data, the incidence of data breaches has also increased to the point that hundreds of millions of Americans have been affected one way or another, Gallup said.

Following distantly behind the two cybercrimes, Gallup said that 40% of Americans worry about their home being burglarized when they are not home, 37% about having their car stolen or broken into, 32% about having a school-aged child physically harmed at school, 25% about getting mugged and 24% about being the victim of terrorism.

Twenty-two percent of U.S. adults are worried about each of three crimes, Gallup said — being a victim of a hate crime, having their homes burglarized while they are there and being attacked while driving their cars. And 20% are concerned about being sexually assaulted. At the bottom of the list, 17% worry about being murdered and 7% about being assaulted or killed while at work.

Americans’ anxiety about the crimes measured by Gallup have been generally stable over time, but two in particular diverged from their historical averages this year, Gallup said. The percentages worried about being the victim of terrorism and car theft are below the historical average for each.

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