BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Home  | Data Collection Detail

Data Collection: National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)
Status: Active
Latest data available: 2012

Since 1929, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program has collected information about crimes known to law enforcement and arrests. The traditional UCR Summary Reporting System (SRS) collects monthly counts of the number of crimes known to law enforcement from thousands of agencies throughout the United States. Information on the number of crimes known is recorded for eight offense categories, based on the most serious offense reported for each crime incident:

  • murder and nonnegligent manslaughter
  • rape
  • robbery
  • aggravated assault
  • burglary
  • larceny-theft
  • motor vehicle theft
  • arson

In addition, the SRS collects counts of arrests for 28 offense categories broken down by the age, sex, and race of the arrestee. 

In 1982, BJS and the FBI sponsored a study of the UCR Program with the objective of revising the program to meet the changing needs of law enforcement moving into the 21st century. This effort to provide more comprehensive and detailed crime statistics resulted in a report entitled, Blueprint for the Future of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which proposed the development and implementation of a new data collection mode, the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

On This Page

Data Experts

  • Alexia Cooper, Ph.D., BJS Statistician
  • Kimberly Martin, Ph.D., BJS Statistician
  • Erica Smith, BJS Statistician
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    Collection Period

    1991-2012

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    Documentation

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    Methodology

    Offenses and Data Elements Measured in the NIBRS
    The NIBRS expands on the eight Index Crimes measured in the UCR summary reporting program and collects incident and arrest information from law enforcement agencies for 22 categories of offenses in Group A, as well as arrest information only for ten additional offenses in Group B.1

    In addition to counts of crimes and arrests, NIBRS was designed to collect detailed information on the attributes of each crime incident known to law enforcement, including:

    • the date, time and location of the incident;
    • a detailed list of all offenses that occurred in the incident, not just the most serious offense;
    • demographic information on each victim and offender involved in the incident;
    • the relationships between each of the victims and the offenders;
    • other details of the incident, including victim injury, type of weapon involved, alcohol or drug involvement, property loss, and drugs seized;
    • clearance information, including both arrest and clearances by exceptional means; and
    • date of arrest and arrestee demographics.

    Population Coverage
    Law enforcement agencies have been gradually moving from reporting summary statistics to the FBI to reporting to NIBRS, a shift that is reflective of a larger trend among police agencies toward collecting more detailed, incident-based case information.  In the most recent Crime in the United States report, the FBI stated that for 2012 a total of 6,115 law enforcement agencies reported their UCR crime statistics via NIBRS, 2out of 18,290 total police agencies participating in the UCR program. In 2012 NIBRS-contributing agencies served approximately 30 percent of the U.S.
    population 3and accounted for 28 percent of all crime reported to the UCR Program. While the number of law enforcement agencies reporting NIBRS data to the FBI continues to grow, many of the police departments representing large metropolitan areas throughout the nation still do not contribute data to the system. As a result, at the national level, incident-based law enforcement data are still unable to address the current information needs of policy makers, researchers, the media and the public.

    To spur the development of NIBRS into a nationally representative source of detailed crime statistics, in 2012 BJS spearheaded an initiative titled the National Crime Statistics Exchange (NCS-X). NCS-X is designed to generate nationally - representative, incident-based data on crimes reported to law enforcement agencies by recruiting a select sample of agencies to report NIBRS data to the FBI. In 2013, BJS and the FBI signed a joint statement of support for NCS-X and agreed to work together to expand NIBRS coverage through funding, training, and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies across the United States.  
     

    1 Excluding arrests for runaway, which is measured in NIBRS but is not considered a crime against persons, property, or society.
    2 NIBRS 2012, NIBRS Participation by State.
    3 Among the U.S. population covered by UCR participants. For more information, see About Crime in the United States, 2012 on the FBI website (retrieved January 14, 2014).

     

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    Publications & Products

    The following publications and products were generated by BJS using data from this collection.

    Violent Crime against the Elderly Reported by Law Enforcement in Michigan, 2005-2009 Presents statistics about violent victimization of persons age 65 or older reported by law enforcement agencies into the FBI's National Incident Based Reporting System from 2005 to 2009.
      Press Release | PDF (1.3M) | ASCII file (38K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 46K)


    Hate Crimes Reported in NIBRS, 1997-99 Utilizes data from the FBI's National Incident-Based Reporting Program (NIBRS) to describe hate crimes reported to law enforcement in NIBRS-participating jurisdictions, between 1997 and 1999.
      Press Release | PDF (108K) | ASCII file (32K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 77K) | Codebooks and Datasets | To order print version
    Part of the Hate Crime Series

    Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics Presents findings from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) regarding sexual assault, especially of young children.
      PDF (129K) | ASCII file (41K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 30K) | Codebooks and Datasets


    Using NIBRS (National Incident-Based Reporting System) Data to Analyze Violent Crime After reviewing the development and characteristics of the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), this article presents results of analyses that used the 1991 NIBRS rape and robbery data.
      PDF


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    Related Topics

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    Additional Information

    Additional Information Related to NIBRS

    Further information about NIBRS and examples of the type of information that can be developed from NIBRS data are presented below.

    U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2004). Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook, 2004.   Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

    Federal Bureau of Investigation Website. (2014). Conversion of NIBRS data to Summary Data.

    Addington, L. A. (2006). Using National Incident-Based Reporting System Murder Data to Evaluate Clearance Predictors: A Research Note.Homicide Studies (PDF), 10(2), 140-152. DOI: 10.1177/1088767905285439.

    Barnett, C. The Measurement of White-Collar Crime Using Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Data. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

    Roberts, A. (2007), Homicide Studies: Predictors of Homicide Clearance by Arrest: An Event History Analysis of NIBRS Incidents , 11(2), 82-93. DOI: 10.1177/10887679073007481.

    Noonan, J. H., & Vavra, M. C. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2007). Crime in Schools and Colleges: A Study of Offenders and Arrestees Reported via National Incident-Based Reporting System Data.

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