The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), under the criminal justice information division, operates the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. The program is responsible for publishing crimes and providing an annual outline of crime occurrence and rate throughout the US (Haas, Director, & Nolan, 2013). On the other hand, the National Incident-Based reporting system (NIBRS) is an incident-based reporting system that gathers complete statistics on every US crime. NIBRS program utilizes data from UCR but in a more detailed manner (History Development).
The Establishment of UCR program in the 1920s from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) activities and the International Association of Chiefs of the Police (IACP) sought to have a central platform for crime data. In 1927, IACP established the Committee of Uniform Crime Reporting and was responsible for harmonizing national statistics on crime comparisons (Cobbs, 2014). By 1930, the IACP had covered 20% of the US population, recording data from 400 cities across 43 states and 20 million individuals.
The new UCR system approval took place during a national conference in 1988. This initiated the development of the NIBRS program, which is a broad utility for UCR data. Its establishment remained informed in the late 1970s after numerous law enforcement communities’ efforts to have a central data collection system. This would later help meet agency needs going into the 21st century (History Development).
Differences Between UCR and NIBRS (History Development).
|Constitute monthly cumulative criminal records of up to 8 index crimes||Constitute individual criminal records for 8 Index crimes and 38 other offenses|
|Individual records are drawn from each offense for each incident as determined by the hierarchy rule||Individual records are drawn for each offense in an incident|
|Ignores disparity between attempted and completed crimes||Takes into account disparities between attempted and completed crimes|
|Gives respective counts on apprehension for the 8 Index crimes as well as 21 other offenses||Gives respective counts on apprehension for the 8 Index crimes as well as 49 other offenses|
Pros (History Development).
The UCR and NIBRS programs make it tireless for agencies to access crime data, such as conducting inquiries into the nature of crime and subsequent experiences. Moreover, the agencies benefit from accessing time-specific information (Cobbs, 2014). Another benefit based on reliability and transparency is that these programs function as an umbrella-like entity acknowledged by various universities, federals, states, cities, and other law enforcement agencies.
Some challenges can be encountered by agencies reporting to the UCR and NIBRS programs, given that they can exhibit numerous sampling errors. For the UCR, agencies will most likely collect data describing police behavior rather than crime events (Cobbs, 2014). A major shortcoming is that these programs fail to demonstrate data collection methods and cannot ascertain whether offenders’ information is true.
Cobbs, R. E. (2014). NIBRS. The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 1-6.
Haas, S. M., Director, O. R. S. P., & Nolan, J. J. (2013). Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center.