Crime statistics, like many statistics, are only as good as the information they capture. For many years, governmental entities provided crime reports through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Under the UCR, various crimes were tallied up, and the system provided a monthly aggregate of those crimes in different geographic locations. It was a useful tool on some level, but it lacked specificity, as we’ll explain.
Beginning January 1, 2021, the FBI is scrapping the UCR’s Summary Reporting System (SRS) component and replacing it with a new system, known as NIBRS (National Incident-Based Reporting System). The move to the NIBRS is mandatory, and cities or agencies that fail to implement the new system could lose certain funding.
Before getting into the specifics of the NIBRS, we can tell you that Phoenix and some other Valley agencies have not yet made the transition. In addition to funding issues, the FBI says it will stop collecting data from police agencies that do not comply with the new reporting system. The Phoenix PD says, however, that it is actively working with the FBI to make sure that it will be in compliance with the new system as of the first of the year.
The reason for switch is to provide greater specificity to the FBI on crimes that are reported. The new system will implement the following changes, among others:
- Includes Data on More Crimes. Data will be collected for more than 50 offenses (plus an additional 10 offenses where just an arrest was reported). Under the SRS, reporting included just 10 offenses (plus 20 where just an arrest was reported).
- Includes More Detailed Information. The additional information includes the date and time of the offense, whether the offense was merely attempted or actually completed, additional victim information, the relationship between offender and victim, the offender’s drug and alcohol use, gang connections, and more.
- Specific Crime Issues. The new system provides additional information concerning various offenses, including drug crimes, sex crimes, identity theft and computer hacking.
In sum, the system provides greater flexibility and more information for analyzing crimes in a particular area and throughout the country.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004