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READING A MULTI-LEVEL DATA FILE INTO SPSS

A NIBRS data file from the FBI comprises multiple data segment levels. In SPSS, the first step is to use the FILE TYPE command MIXED TYPE / END FILE TYPE with the RECORD TYPE and DATA LIST commands to define the structure of the NIBRS data file. This combination of commands defines the data segments and reads the data segment records to create a large flat file.

The sample spreadsheet above shows, for one incident, a victim segment record, an offender segment record, and an arrestee segment record. Not all cells containt data. There are blank cells at the intersection of B5 and B6, for example, because neither the offender segment nor the arrestee segment contains the data element "victim number". (The data elements in this example are reduced in number for illustration purposes.)

For an example of SPSS code showing this process, including narrative text, select this option:

For a snapshot of the SPSS record layout, select this option:

For a refresher on the NIBRS data structure, select this option: