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Advantages of Incident-Based Reporting Over Summary Reporting

There are many advantages to incident-based crime reporting systems over summary-based crime reporting systems. Incident-based reporting systems can be designed to be both NIBRS-compliant and capable of producing summary reports that meet the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting requirements as well as local and state requirements. The benefits of incident-based reporting include:

  • Data collection is not restricted to a limited number of offense categories.
  • Offense definitions can meet local, state, and national reporting needs.
  • Detail on individual crime incidents (offenses, offenders, victims, property, and arrests) can be collected and analyzed.
  • Arrests and clearances can be linked to specific incidents or offenses.
  • All offenses in an incident can be recorded and counted, unlike the current situation with the hierarchy rule in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.
  • Additional crime scoring categories, such as Crimes Against Society, can be created.
  • Distinctions can be made between attempted and completed crimes.
  • Linkages can be established between variables for examining interrelationships between offenses, offenders, victims, property, and arrestees.
  • Detailed crime analyses can be made within and across law enforcement jurisdictions.
  • Regional law enforcement agencies can share information easily.
  • Strategic and tactical crime analyses can be made at the local and regional levels.


Next: Comparison of NIBRS and UCR Definitions