There were several limitations associated with the 2017 Crime Survey that are worth noting. First, the majority of survey responses were received from hospitals affiliated with the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS). However, as the premier organization dedicated to professionals involved in managing and directing security and safety programs in healthcare institutions, IAHSS affiliated hospitals represent a significant number of the 5,000+ hospitals in the United States. This year, more hospitals participated that are not affiliated with the IAHSS. Nevertheless, a recurring limitation is the low response rate to survey.
Second, we had concerns about the differences between crime definitions across states. We alleviate this concern by providing survey respondents with crime definitions from the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with healthcare related examples. Based on the quality of responses received, it appears that our efforts mitigated this concern.
Third, the use of bed counts as the sole indicator of hospital size and population is a limiting factor. There are better indicators that more accurately reflect size and population (people). For example, number of Emergency Department visits, number of employees, hospital square feet, average daily census, and adjusted patient days can also be used to calculate crime rates. Bed counts, on the other hand, were the most consistently reported indicator of size and/or population and allow us to be consistent with prior Healthcare Crime Surveys. That said, this year, we collected more information (e.g. number of employees) which enabled us to assess additional metrics than in prior years.