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Uniform Crime Reporting Methodology

(The following was excerpted from Crime in the U.S. Appendices I, II, and V. Nonsubstantive adaptations have been made by the JABG Technical Support Center staff.)

The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program is a nationwide, cooperative statistical effort of over 16,000 city, county, and state law enforcement agencies voluntarily reporting data on crimes brought to their attention. These agencies cover 95% of the nation's population. The information compiled by UCR contributors is forwarded to the FBI either directly from local law enforcement agencies or through state-level UCR programs in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Agencies submitting directly to the FBI are provided continuing guidance and support on an individual basis.

State-level UCR programs are very effective intermediaries between local contributors and the FBI. Many of the programs have mandatory reporting requirements and collect data beyond the national UCR scope to address crime problems germane to their particular locales. In most cases, these agencies are also able to provide more direct and frequent service to participating law enforcement agencies, to make information more readily available for use at the state level, and to contribute to more streamlined operations at the national level.

With the development of a state UCR program, the FBI ceases direct collection of data from individual law enforcement agencies within the state. Instead, information from local agencies is forwarded to the national program through the state data collection agency. The conditions under which these systems are developed ensure consistency and comparability in the data submitted to the national program, as well as provide for regular and timely reporting of national crime data. These conditions are:

(1) The state program must conform to national Uniform Crime Reports' standards, definitions, and information requirements.

(2) The state criminal justice agency must have a proven, effective, statewide program and have instituted acceptable quality control procedures.

(3) Coverage within the state by a state agency must be, at least, equal to that attained by the national Uniform Crime Reports.

(4) The state agency must have adequate field staff assigned to conduct audits and to assist contributing agencies in record practices and crime reporting procedures.

(5) The state agency must furnish to the FBI all of the detailed data regularly collected by the FBI in the form of duplicate returns, computer printouts, and/or magnetic tapes.

(6) The state agency must have the proven capability (tested over a period of time) to supply all the statistical data required in time to meet national Uniform Crime Reports' publication deadlines.

To fulfill its responsibilities in connection with the UCR program, the FBI continues to edit and review individual agency reports for both completeness and quality; has direct contact with individual contributors within the state when necessary in connection with crime reporting matters, coordinating such contact with the state agency; and upon request, conducts training programs within the state on law enforcement records and crime reporting procedures. Should circumstances develop whereby the state agency does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, the national program may reinstate a direct collection of Uniform Crime Reports from law enforcement agencies within the state.

Reporting Procedures

Based on records of all reports of crime received from victims, officers who discover infractions, or other sources, law enforcement agencies across the country tabulate the number of Crime Index or Part I offenses brought to their attention each month. Specifically, the crimes reported to the FBI are murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

Whenever complaints of crime are determined through investigation to be unfounded or false, they are eliminated from an agency's count. The number of "actual offenses known" is reported to the FBI regardless of whether anyone is arrested for the crime, stolen property is recovered, or prosecution is undertaken.

Another integral part of the monthly submission is the total number of actual Crime Index offenses cleared. Crimes are "cleared" in one of two ways: (1) at least one person is arrested, charged, and turned over to the court for prosecution; or (2) by exceptional means when some element beyond law enforcement agencies' control precludes the arrest of an offender. Law enforcement agencies also report the number of Index crime clearances which involve only offenders under the age of 18; the value of property stolen and recovered in connection with the offenses; and detailed information pertaining to criminal homicide and arson.

In addition to its primary collection of Crime Index (Part I) offenses, the UCR program solicits monthly data on persons arrested for all crimes except traffic violations. The age, sex, and race of arrestees are reported by crime category, both Part I and Part I.

Various data on law enforcement officers killed or assaulted are collected on a monthly basis. The number of full-time sworn and civilian personnel is reported as of October 31 each year.

Editing Procedures

Each report submitted to the UCR program is thoroughly examined for arithmetical accuracy and for deviations which may indicate errors. To identify any unusual fluctuations in an agency's crime count, monthly reports are compared with previous submissions of the agency and with those for similar agencies. Large variations in crime levels may indicate modified records procedures, incomplete reporting, or changes in the jurisdiction's geopolitical structure.

Data reliability is a high priority of the program and noted deviations or arithmetical adjustments are brought to the attention of the state UCR program or the submitting agency through correspondence. A standard procedure of the FBI is to study the monthly reports and to evaluate periodic trends prepared for individual reporting units. Any significant increase or decrease is made the subject of a special inquiry. When it is found that changes in crime reporting procedures or annexations are influencing the level of crime, the figures for specific crime categories or, if necessary, totals are excluded from trend tabulations.

To assist contributors in complying with UCR standards, the national program provides training seminars and instructional materials in crime reporting procedures. Throughout the country, liaison with state programs and law enforcement personnel is maintained, and training sessions are held to explain the purpose of the program, the rules of uniform classification and scoring, and the methods of assembling the information for reporting. When an individual agency has specific problems in compiling its crime statistics and remedial efforts are unsuccessful, FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division personnel may visit the contributor to aid in resolving the difficulties.

The Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook, which details procedures for classifying and scoring offenses, is supplied to all contributors as the basic resource document for preparing reports. Since a good records system is essential for accurate crime reporting, the FBI also furnishes the Manual of Law Enforcement Records.

To enhance communication among program participants, letters to UCR contributors and state UCR program "Bulletins" are utilized. They address program policy, as well as present information and instructional material, and are produced as needed.

The final responsibility for data submissions rests with the individual contributing law enforcement agency. Although the program makes every effort through its editing procedures, training practices, and correspondence to assure the validity of the data it receives, the statistics' accuracy depends primarily on the adherence of each contributor to the established standards of reporting. Deviations from these established standards which cannot be resolved by the national UCR program may be brought to the attention of the Criminal Justice Information Systems Committees of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs' Association.

NIBRS Conversion

Several states provide their UCR data in the expanded NIBRS format. For presentation in Crime in the U.S. and for inclusion in data files supplied for formula computations, NIBRS data were converted to the historical summary UCR formats. The NIBRS data base was constructed to allow for such conversion so that UCR's long-running time series could continue.


Uniform Crime Reporting Offense Definitions

Offenses in Uniform Crime Reporting are divided into two groups, Part I and Part II. Information on the volume of Part I offenses known to law enforcement, those cleared by arrest or exceptional means, and the number of persons arrested is reported monthly. Only arrest data are reported for Part II offenses.

Part I Violent Crimes are:

Criminal homicide -- a. Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter: the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another. Deaths caused by negligence, attempts to kill, assaults to kill, suicides, accidental deaths, and justifiable homicides are excluded. Justifiable homicides are limited to: (1) the killing of a felon by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty; and (2) the killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen. b. Manslaughter by negligence: the killing of another person through gross negligence. Traffic fatalities are excluded. While manslaughter by negligence is a Part I crime, it is not included in the Crime Index.

Forcible rape -- The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Included are rapes by force and attempts or assaults to rape. Statutory offenses (no force used -- victim under age of consent) are excluded.

Robbery -- The taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.

Aggravated assault -- An unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault usually is accompanied by the use of a weapon or by means likely to produce death or great bodily harm. Simple assaults are excluded.

Only the above four Part I violent crimes are used in the JABG formula.

Part I Property Crimes are:

Burglary-breaking or entering -- The unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft. Attempted forcible entry is included.

Larceny-theft (except motor vehicle theft) -- The unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another. Examples are thefts of bicycles or automobile accessories, shoplifting, pocket- picking, or the stealing of any property or article which is not taken by force and violence or by fraud. Attempted larcenies are included. Embezzlement, confidence games, forgery, worthless checks, etc., are excluded.

Motor vehicle theft -- The theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle. A motor vehicle is self-propelled and runs on the surface and not on rails. Specifically excluded from this category are motorboats, construction equipment, airplanes, and farming equipment.

Arson -- Any willful or malicious burning or attempt to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.

The Part II offenses are:

Other assaults (simple) -- Assaults and attempted assaults where no weapon is used and which do not result in serious or aggravated injury to the victim.

Forgery and counterfeiting -- Making, altering, uttering, or possessing, with intent to defraud, anything false in the semblance of that which is true. Attempts are included.

Fraud -- Fraudulent conversion and obtaining money or property by false pretenses. Included are confidence games and bad checks, except forgeries and counterfeiting.

Embezzlement -- Misappropriation or misapplication of money or property entrusted to one's care, custody, or control.

Stolen property; buying, receiving, possessing -- Buying, receiving, and possessing stolen property, including attempts.

Vandalism -- Willful or malicious destruction, injury, disfigurement, or defacement of any public or private property, real or personal, without consent of the owner or persons having custody or control.

Weapons; carrying, possessing, etc. -- All violations of regulations or statutes controlling the carrying, using, possessing, furnishing, and manufacturing of deadly weapons or silencers. Included are attempts.

Prostitution and commercialized vice -- Sex offenses of a commercialized nature, such as prostitution, keeping a bawdy house, procuring, or transporting women for immoral purposes. Attempts are included.

Sex offenses (except forcible rape, prostitution, and commercialized vice) -- Statutory rape and offenses against chastity, common decency, morals, and the like. Attempts are included.

Drug abuse violations -- State and/or local offenses relating to the unlawful possession, sale, use, growing, and manufacturing of narcotic drugs. The following drug categories are specified: opium or cocaine and their derivatives (morphine, heroin, codeine); marijuana; synthetic narcotics-manufactured narcotics that can cause true addiction (demerol, methadone); and dangerous nonnarcotic drugs (barbiturates, benzedrine).

Gambling -- Promoting, permitting, or engaging in illegal gambling.

Offenses against the family and children -- Nonsupport, neglect, desertion, or abuse of family and children.

Driving under the influence -- Driving or operating any vehicle or common carrier while drunk or under the influence of liquor or narcotics.

Liquor laws -- State and/or local liquor law violations, except "drunkenness" and "driving under the influence." Federal violations are excluded.

Drunkenness -- Offenses relating to drunkenness or intoxication. Excluded is "driving under the influence."

Disorderly conduct -- Breach of the peace.

Vagrancy -- Vagabondage, begging, loitering, etc.

All other offenses -- All violations of state and/or local laws, except those listed above and traffic offenses.

Suspicion -- No specific offense; suspect released without formal charges being placed.

Curfew and loitering laws (persons under age 18) -- Offenses relating to violations of local curfew or loitering ordinances where such laws exist.

Runaways (persons under age 18) -- Limited to juveniles taken into protective custody under provisions of local statutes.


Directory of State Uniform Crime Reporting Programs

Alabama
Alabama Criminal JusticeInformation Center
Suite 350
770 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama  36104
(334) 242-4900

Alaska
Uniform Crime Reporting Section
Department of Public SafetyInformation System
1979 Peger Road
Fairbanks, Alaska  99709
(907) 451-5166

American Samoa
Department of Public Safety
Post Office Box 1086
Pago Pago
American Samoa  96799
(684) 633-1111

Arizona
Uniform Crime Reporting Program
Access Integrity Unit
Arizona Department of Public Safety
Post Office Box 6638
Phoenix, Arizona  85005-6638
(602) 223-2263

Arkansas
Arkansas Crime Information Center
One Capitol Mall, 4D-200
Little Rock, Arkansas  72201
(501) 682-2222

California
Criminal Justice Statistics Center
Department of Justice
Post Office Box 903427
Sacramento, California  94203-4270
(916) 227-3282

Colorado
Uniform Crime Reporting
Colorado Bureau of Investigation
Suite 3000
690 Kipling Street
Denver, Colorado  80215
(303) 239-4300

Connecticut
Uniform Crime Reporting Program
Post Office Box 2794
Middletown, Connecticut  06457-9294
(860) 685-8030

Delaware
State Bureau of Identification
Post Office Box 430
Dover, Delaware 19903
(302) 739-5875

District of Columbia
Information Services Division
Metropolitan Police Department
Room 5054
300 Indiana Avenue, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 727-4138

Florida
Uniform Crime Reports
Florida Crime Information Bureau
Post Office Box 1489
Tallahassee, Florida  32302-1489
(850) 410-7121

Georgia
Georgia Crime Information Center
Georgia Bureau of Investigation
Post Office Box 370748
Decatur, Georgia  30037-0748
(404) 244-2840

Guam
Guam Police Department
Planning, Research and Development
Building #3
Central Avenue
Yiyan, Guam  96913
(671) 472-8911 x 418

Hawaii
Crime Prevention and JusticeAssistance Division
Department of the Attorney General
1st Floor
425 Queen Street
Honolulu, Hawaii  96813
(808) 586-1416

Idaho
Criminal Identification Bureau
Department of Law Enforcement
Post Office Box 700
Meridian, Idaho 83680
(208) 884-7156

Illinois
Illinois State Police
Firearms Control Services and Crime Statistics Bureau
Post Office Box 3677
Springfield, Illinois  62708-3677
(217) 782-5791

Iowa
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Wallace State Office Building
East Ninth and Grand
Des Moines, Iowa  50319
(515) 281-8494

Kansas
Criminal Justice System
Kansas Bureau of Investigation
1620 Southwest Tyler Street
Topeka, Kansas  66612
(785) 296-8200

Kentucky
Information Services Branch
Kentucky State Police
1250 Louisville Road
Frankfort, Kentucky  40601
(502) 227-8790

Louisiana
Uniform Crime Reporting Program
1213 Nicholson Drive
Baton Rouge, Louisiana  70802
(225) 383-8342

Maine
Records Management Services
Uniform Crime Reporting Division
Department of Public Safety
Maine State Police
36 Hospital Street, Station 42
Augusta, Maine 04333-0042
(207) 624-7003

Maryland
Central Records Division
Maryland State Police
1711 Belmont Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland  21244
(410) 298-3883

Massachusetts
Crime Reporting Unit
Uniform Crime Reports
Massachusetts State Police
470 Worcester Road
Framingham, Massachusetts  01702
(508) 820-2110

Michigan
Statistical Information Section
Central Records Division
Michigan  State Police
7150 Harris Drive
Lansing, Michigan  48913
(517) 322-1424

Minnesota
Criminal Justice Information Systems
Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
Minnesota Department of Public Safety
1246 University Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota  55104
(651) 642-0670

Montana
Montana Board of Crime Control
303 North Montana Avenue
Helena, Montana  59620-1408
(406) 444-4298

Nebraska
Uniform Crime Reporting Section
The Nebraska Commission on LawEnforcement and Criminal Justice
Post Office Box 94946
Lincoln, Nebraska  68508
(402) 471-3982

Nevada
Criminal Information Services
Nevada Highway Patrol
808 West Nye Lane
Carson City, Nevada 89703
(775) 687-1600

New Hampshire
Uniform Crime Reporting Unit
New Hampshire State Police
Departmentof Public Safety
10 Hazen Drive
Concord, New Hampshire  03305
(603) 271-2509

New Jersey
Uniform Crime Reporting
New Jersey State Police
Post Office Box 7068
West Trenton, New Jersey  08628-0068
(609) 882-2000 x 2392

New York
Statistical Services
New York State Division of CriminalJustice Services
8th Floor, Mail Room
4 Tower Place
Albany, New York  12203
(518) 457-8381

North Carolina
Crime Reporting and Field Services
Division of Criminal Information
State Bureau of Investigation
407 North Blount Street
Raleigh, North Carolina  27601
(919) 733-3171

North Dakota
Information Services Section
Bureau of Criminal Investigation
Attorney General's Office
Post Office Box 1054
Bismarck, North Dakota  58502
(701) 328-5500

Ohio (NIBRS data only)
Office of Criminal Justice Services
Suite 300
400 East Town Street
Columbus, Ohio  43215
(614) 466-7782

Oklahoma
Uniform Crime Reporting Section
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
Suite 300
6600 North Harvey
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  73116
(405) 879-2531

Oregon
Law Enforcement Data Systems Division
Oregon State Police
400 Public Service Building
Salem, Oregon  97310
(503) 378-3057

Pennsylvania
Bureau of Research and Development
Pennsylvania State Police
1800 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania  17110
(717) 783-5536

Puerto Rico
Statistics Division
Puerto Rico Police
Post Office Box 70166
San Juan, Puerto Rico  00936-8166
(787) 793-1234 x 3113

Rhode Island
Rhode Island State Police
311 Danielson Pike
North Scituate, Rhode Island  02857
(401) 444-1121

South Carolina
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
Post Office Box 21398
Columbia, South Carolina  29221-1398
(803) 896-7162

South Dakota
South Dakota Statistical Analysis Center
500 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, South Dakota  57501-5070
(605) 773-6310

Tennessee (NIBRS data only)
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
901 R.S. Gass Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee  37210
(615) 744-4000

Texas
Uniform Crime Reporting
Crime Information Bureau
Texas Department of Public Safety
Post Office Box 4143
Austin, Texas  78765-9968
(512) 424-2091

Utah
Data Collection and Analysis
Uniform Crime Reporting
Bureau of Criminal Identification
Utah Department of Public Safety
Post Office Box 148280
Salt Lake City, Utah  84114-8280
(801) 965-4566

Vermont
Vermont Crime Information Center
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, Vermont  05671-2101
(802) 241-5220

Virginia
Criminal Justice Information Services Division
Virginia State Police
Post Office Box 27472
Richmond, Virginia  23261-7472
(804) 674-2143

Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands Police Department
Criminal Justice Complex
Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands  00802
(809) 774-2211 x 206

Washington
Uniform Crime Reporting Program
Washington Association of Sheriffs andPolice Chiefs
Post Office Box 826
Olympia, Washington  98507
(360) 586-3221

West Virginia
Uniform Crime Reporting Program
West Virginia State Police
725 Jefferson Road
South Charleston, West Virginia  25309
(304) 746-2159

Wisconsin
Office of Justice Assistance
Suite 202
131 West Wilson Street
Madison, Wisconsin  53702-0001
(608) 266-3323

Wyoming
Uniform Crime Reporting
Criminal Records Section
Division of Criminal Investigation
316 West 22nd Street
Cheyenne, Wyoming  82002
(307) 777-7625