Standardizing the Display of IBR Data: Property Variables

Data Collection and Quality Issues Associated with Property Variables Value of Property at a Glance

Segment? Property
Required? For certain completed offenses
Number of Entries? 1
Type of Entry? Dollar Amount

Data Collection

Property segments are to be submitted when a crime against property or kidnaping/abduction is involved in the incident.  Therefore, property segments data elements are to be submitted only if the incident includes at least one of the following offenses:

100 Kidnaping/Abduction 26A False Pretenses / Swindle / Confidence Game
120 Robbery 26B Credit Card / Automatic Teller Machine Fraud
200 Arson 26C Impersonation
210 Extortion/Blackmail 26D Welfare Fraud
220 Burglary/B&E 26E Wire Fraud
23A Pocket-Picking 270 Embezzlement
23B Purse-Snatching 280 Stolen Property Offenses (Receiving, etc.)
23C Shoplifting 290 Destruction / Damage / Vandalism of Property
23D Theft from Building 35A Drug/Narcotic Violations
23E Theft from Coin-Operated Machine or Device 35B Drug Equipment Violations
23F Theft from Motor Vehicle 39A Betting/Wagering
23G Theft of Motor Vehicle Parts or Accessories 39B Operating / Promoting / Assisting Gambling
23H All Other Larceny 39C Gambling Equipment Violations
240 Motor Vehicle Theft 39D Sports Tampering
250 Counterfeiting/Forgery 510 Bribery

Value of Property
is to be used to enter the total dollar value of property that was burned (including damage caused in fighting the fire), counterfeited, destroyed / damaged / vandalized, recovered, seized, stolen, etc., as a result of the incident.  Up to ten values can be entered to match the up to ten property descriptions.  Values should be rounded to the nearest whole dollar.  There is no requirement to list the value of any drugs/narcotics seized in a Drug/Narcotic Violation offense.  However, when drugs are involved in other types of crime (e.g., they were stolen in a burglary or burned in an arson), their value is to be reported.  Data on drugs seized are handled separately in specific categories relating to them.

The following guidelines are suggested for determining the value of property:

1.  Use fair market value for articles which are subject to depreciation because of wear and tear, age, or other factors which cause the value to decrease with use.

2.  Use cost to the merchant (wholesale cost) of goods recovered, seized, stolen, etc., from retail establishments, warehouses, etc.  In other words, use the dollar value representing the actual cash loss to the victim without any markup or profit added.

3.  Use victim's valuation of items such as juewlry, watches, and other similar goods which decrease in value slightly or not at all with use or age.

4.  Use replacement cost or actual cash cost to victim for new or almost new clothes, auto accessories, bicycles, etc.

5.  When the victim obviously exaggerates the value of stolen/destroyed/damaged property for insurance or other purposes, common sense and good judgment will dictate a fair market value to be placed on the stolen items by law enforcement.

In most instances, the victim's valuation can be accepted.  The theft of nonnegotiable instruments such as traveler's checks, personal checks, money orders, stocks, bonds, food stamps, etc., should be scored but no value recorded.   Negotiable instruments such as bonds payable to the bearer, etc., are valued at the current market price at the time of the theft, seizure, etc. 

Often the condition of the property is different at recovery than it was when stolen.   The market value at the time of recovery should be used even though it is less than the value reported at the time of the theft.  If the value has increased by the time the property is recovered, the recovery value should not exceed its value at the time it was stolen.

An agency should only report the value of property stolen in its jurisdiction.   Likewise, the value of recovered property will include only property originally stolen in its own jurisdiction.  It does not matter who recovers the property or where it was recovered.  Although another police agency recovers the stolen property, the jurisdiction from which the property was stolen would report the value of the recovery.  This procedure applies to all stolen property, including motor vehicles.   Some agencies find it valuable to maintain separate records on property recovered by them for other jurisdictions.

Data Quality Issues

Records Management Systems often have a default property value, often set at $1.   As a result, this default value may be entered instead of the actual property value.  For example, if a stolen car is recovered, it is unlikely that the value of the car is $1.  Yet in 14% of the 252,249 cases involving a vehicle in NIBRS, the value is listed as $1.  

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Download the SPSS code for this data quality check
Note: Please check that the variable names used in this syntax match the variable names in your data file.  If you need assistance, contact JRSA.