ASUCRP Gathers in Baltimore for Annual Conference

By Adam Dean, President, Association of State Uniform Crime Reporting Programs

JRSA Forum. June 2012. Volume 30, Number 2.

The Association of State Uniform Crime Reporting Programs (ASUCRP) held its annual conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 24-25, 2012. The Association represents participants in the National Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program and the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) on the state, regional, and national levels, and provides a method of exchanging technical data on UCR/NIBRS methodology and efforts in a regional, state, or local setting.

Just over 80 participants attended the conference, including representatives from 35 state UCR/NIBRS programs, representatives from the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Division, staff from the Justice Research and Statistics Association and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and a few state Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) directors. The conference provided attendees with a unique opportunity to both network and learn from one another about the collection and analysis of state and federal crime statistics. This year's topics included the following:

FBI Updates. FBI staff presented an overview of current IT-related efforts to meet a mandate requiring the Federal Crime Reporting Program to develop a paperless submission process by 2013. The FBI also provided updates on several data collection mandates in the areas of hate crime, human trafficking, the national Law Enforcement Officer Killed or Assaulted (LEOKA) program, and the newly revised definition of rape. These mandates all involve the collection of more detailed information to allow for better analysis.

Expanded Definition of Rape. Two plenary sessions were dedicated to the recently expanded definition of rape. During the first session, presenters provided information and statistics related to sexual assault and rape from victim survey data. The second session focused on the collection of these data through the UCR program. First, updates were given on the current status of the federal collection requirements for the expanded definition of rape, and then an open discussion was held on potential collection strategies that would yield the most useful data for future analysis.

Human Trafficking. Both a plenary and breakout session were devoted to examining human trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery. During the breakout attendees heard about the nature of modern slavery, the causal factors both domestically and worldwide, and the formalized response to trafficking. The plenary session included presentations from the FBI, the Polaris Project, the National Association of Attorney Generals, and an anti-trafficking consultant. These focused on broader aspects of human trafficking and the significance of including human trafficking in the UCR program.

Crime Reporting Audits and Data Quality. Two panel sessions focused on state audit and training programs. Audit panelists reported on programs in Maine, Missouri, and Tennessee, discussing frequency and types of information reviewed, and looked at the entire process from the beginning of the audit to agency responses and verification. Training panelists presented information from Florida, Missouri, and Tennessee that included types of courses offered, frequency, annual training requirements, and suggestions for methods to incorporate in the training to make the courses more practical, beneficial, and interesting.

Analyzing National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) Data. Two separate sessions were dedicated to the use of NIBRS data in crime-related research and analysis. The first explored the use of incident-level data to analyze the prevalence of crime against the elderly. NIBRS data were used to show how crime against the elderly has grown in both volume and scope as the "Baby Boomer" generation ages into active retirement lifestyles. The second presentation utilized NIBRS data from Massachusetts to further explain those variables that contribute to the likelihood of a law enforcement officer being killed or assaulted by an offender. The provider also showed how NIBRS data can be used to analyze crime at the state or local level.

This conference is a vital component of both the federal and state crime reporting programs. For many states, the conference provides a forum where common issues and topics related to crime statistics can be shared with other states and the federal program. However, this year's conference would not have occurred without funding provided by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Due to budget cutbacks at the state level, many program managers were unable to secure state funds to attend. Thanks to BJS support, state program managers were able to participate in important discussions that ultimately shape the way states collect and analyze crime statistics.