The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) Helps Identify Law Enforcement Needs

Federal Bureau of Investigation logoOn December 22nd, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a report that details more than 5.6 million criminal offenses in 2013 through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program made this report, NIBRS 2013, to provide information about victims, known offenders and relationships between 23 offense variables. 

Because NIBRS notes all offenses included in an incident (unlike the Summary Reporting System in Crime in the United States), the number of offenses exceeds the number of incidents by nearly one million. Total victims outnumber total offenders by more than one million. “[T]herefore, there are five units of count used in this publication: 1) Incidents, 2) Offenses, 3) Victims, 4) Offenders, and 5) Arrestees.” It is important to note that the data presented in NIBRS is not nationally representative. This is because in 2013, only 6328 law enforcement agencies submitted NIBRS data, resulting in a 34.4% representation of all law enforcement agencies that participate in the UCR program. 

NIBRS 2013 includes information about new collection standards, new data, and a newly revised rape definition, “the addition of human trafficking offenses and gender and gender identity bias categories, and the revision of sexual orientation bias types and race and ethnicity categories.” In the 2016 report, a category of animal cruelty offense will be added and will include four separate types of animal cruelty: simple/gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse, and animal sexual abuse. The categories will be implemented in 2015 and ready for the 2016 report.

NIBRS is available in html format until a print option is made ready. The level of detail captured in NIBRS is meant to improve preparedness and response of law enforcement agencies. Using this data, they can see where and when crime takes place in their jurisdiction, as well as what type of offense they can expect. This report is highly analytical and includes large numbers of datasets. 

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