Is It Time to Retire FBI Crime Statistics?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
(photo: Stockbyte, Getty Images)

A coalition of law enforcement organizations is calling on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to ditch its longtime system for tracking crime statistics, which has been shown to be incomplete.

 

The FBI needs to modernize nationwide crime reporting and related data, says the coalition that includes the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, National Sheriffs' Association, and Major County Sheriffs' Association.

 

The groups argue the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), established in 1929, should replace its Summary Reporting System (SRS) with the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) within the next five years. A gradual transition from SRS to NIBRS has already been in progress, but the coalition is urging the agency to set its sights on a complete changeover within that time frame.

 

Currently, more than 6,500 law enforcement agencies, representing 34 states, regularly report to NIBRS.

 

“It is recognized that the current FBI UCR Program does not collect data that adequately reflects modern crime and related activities nor does it share crime reporting and related data on a real time basis in the manner of transparency expected by the nation’s law enforcement agencies and citizens we serve,” the coalition said in a news release.

 

Relying on the NIBRS will provide “data that provides a better opportunity of studying crime and criminal behavior,” they say.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

Support For Modernizing Nationwide Crime Reporting Updating Data To Be Collected To More Accurately Reflect Current Crime and Related Activities… (International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, National Sheriffs’ Association, Major County Sheriffs’ Association) (pdf)

On-Duty Police Officers Have Shot And Killed More Than 700 People This Year (by Wesley Lowery, Washington Post)

FBI Reports Drop in Crime in Denver…Because Crime Statistics Were Left Out (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)

Can FBI Crime Statistics Really be Trusted? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Milwaukee Police Lowered Crime Rate…by Misreporting Violent Assaults (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

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