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Changing Methodology of Crime Reporting

Posted by on Jun 4, 2020 in Blog | No Comments

For twenty years, AGS has relied upon the summary information available in the FBI’s annual UCR (Uniform Crime Reports) data as the basis for our popular CrimeRisk data, which estimates the relative risk for major crimes at the block level. The FBI will be migrating to a new system, NIBRS (National Incident Based Reporting System) at the beginning of 2021. As of 2018, nearly 50% of the participating police agencies nationwide were already utilizing the new system.

AGS expects to begin to be able to utilize the expanded data in models as early as 2022, with full implementation by 2024-5 as our rolling five year dataset is populated.

The NIBRS offers a number of significant enhancements over the current system, known as SRS (Summary Reporting System), since it focuses on incidents rather than simply providing a count of crimes by type. For AGS CrimeRisk users, this will translate into a more robust and comprehensive database allowing:

  • A broader range of crimes, as NIBRS expands reporting to fifty-two separate crimes. A broader classification than the current ten groups will most certainly be possible, although some of the additional crimes are rare and may not be amenable to small area modeling
  • Time of day analysis, which may enable separate indexes for some crimes for daytime, evening, and night
  • Since NIBRS is incident based, we anticipate being able to differentiate between single crime incidents and multiple crime incidents and the ability to better capture and model data related to less serious crimes that may be hidden in the current dataset which considers only the most serious crime. According to the 2014 analysis, 10.6% of reported incidents included multiple offenses.

The current CrimeRisk database consists of seven base crimes – murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. NIBRS will report on:

  • Animal cruelty
  • Arson
  • Assault (aggravated, simple, and intimidation)
  • Bribery
  • Burglary/Break and Enter
  • Counterfeiting
  • Destruction, Damage, or Vandalism of Property
  • Drug/Narcotic offenses (Drugs/Narcotics possession, Drug equipment violations)
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion/blackmail
  • Fraud (False pretenses, credit card/ATM fraud, impersonation, welfare fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, hacking/computer invasion)
  • Gambling offenses (better, operating or promoting, sports tampering)
  • Homicide (murder, negligent manslaughter, justifiable homicide – not criminal)
  • Human trafficking offenses (commercial sex acts, involuntary servitude)
  • Kidnapping / abduction
  • Larceny/Theft (pocket-picking, purse snatching, shoplifting, theft from building, theft from machine/device, theft of motor vehicle parts/accessories, other)
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Pornography/obscene material
  • Prostitution (prostitution, assisting/promoting prostitution, purchasing)
  • Robbery
  • Sex offenses (rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object, fondling)
  • Sex offenses, non-forcible (incest, statutory rape)
  • Stolen property offenses
  • Weapons law violations

In addition, the database attempts to distinguish between attempted and completed offenses, whether the offender was suspected of alcohol or drug use, use of weapon/force, and the value of property involved. As this data becomes available and we are able to evaluate its completeness and integrate into our methodology, we will advise users of the enhancements we are able to provide to this important dataset.

For more information on NIBRS: https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/ucr/nibrs

For more information on CrimeRisk, see our methodology statement here.

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