Standardizing the Display of IBR Data: Location Variables

Data Collection and Quality Issues Associated with Location Variables

Location at a Glance

Segment? Offense
Required? Yes
Number of Entries? 1
Number of Coding Options? 25

Data Collection

According to the FBI Data Collection Guidelines, the location data element is used to report the type of location/premises where each offense took place.  Only one location can be entered for each offense.  There are 25 allowable entries:

Air/Bus/Train Terminal Hotel/Motel/Etc
Bank/Savings and Loan Jail/Prison
Bar/Night Club Lake/Waterway
Church/Synagogue/Temple Liquor Store
Commercial/Office Building Parking Lot/Garage
Construction Site Rental Storage Facility
Convenience Store Residence/Home
Department/Discount Store Restaurant
Drug Store/Doctor's Office/Hospital School/College
Field/Woods Service/Gas Station
Government/Public Building Specialty Store
Grocery/Supermarket Other/Unknown
Highway/Road/Alley

Data Quality Issues

The location data element is a required entry, and therefore is often checked by data entry programs.  As a result, many blank fields or incorrect entries can be caught and corrected.

States may also add their own location codes to their state IBR systems, which are then recoded before the data are sent to the FBI.  For example, New York has 47 location codes, adding locations such as Amusement Center, Dry Cleaners/Laundry, and Cemetery, to name a few.  This allows states to better focus on incidents particular to their own state, and allows more specific analysis.