BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Home  | Data Collection Detail

Data Collection: Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories
Status: Active
Frequency: 2002, 2005, 2009, 2014
Latest data available: 2014

Provides a comprehensive look at the forensic services provided by federal, state, and local crime labs across the nation and the resources devoted to completing the work. The Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories collects data on staff, budgets, and workloads within publicly operated labs. The census also provides information on lab accreditations, proficiency tests, and other quality assurances.

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Data Experts

  • Andrea M. Burch, Statistician, BJS
  • Matthew M. Durose, Statistician, BJS
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    Collection Period

    2002, 2005, 2009, 2014

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    Questionnaires

    Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories
    2014 PDF (207K) | 2009 PDF (114K) | 2005 PDF (1.2M)
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    Methodology

    The Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories (CPFFCL) is directed to federal, state, county, and municipal crime labs that are funded solely by the government or whose parent organization is a government agency. The CPFFCL includes agencies that employ one or more full-time scientists with a minimum of a bachelor's degree in chemistry, physics, biology, criminalistics, or a closely related forensic science field, and whose principal function is examining physical evidence in criminal matters and providing reports and testimony to courts of law regarding such evidence. 

    The CPFFCL did not include operations that engage exclusively in evidence collection and documentation, such as fingerprint recovery and development, crime scene response, and photography. In addition, the census did not collect data on the forensic services performed by police identification units outside of the crime lab and privately operated crime labs.

    BJS conducted its fourth CPFFCL to collect detailed information on the workload and operations of the nation's 409 crime labs during 2014 and to examine changes since the previous censuses conducted in 2002, 2005, and 2009. Of the 409 eligible crime labs that received the 2014 CPFFCL questionnaire, 360 (88%) provided responses to at least some of the items. To generate national estimates for the reports, BJS used several imputation methods to account for missing data among labs that did not respond to either the entire CPFFCL questionnaire or certain questions.

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    Publications & Products

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

    Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories: Quality Assurance Practices, 2014 Presents data on the quality assurance practices of state, county, municipal, and federal forensic crime laboratories operating in the United States during 2014 and compares findings with census data from previous years.
      Press Release | Summary (PDF 255K) | PDF (672K) | ASCII file (29K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 16K)
    Part of the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories Series

    Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories: Resources and Services, 2014 Presents data on the resources and services of state, county, municipal, and federal forensic crime laboratories operating in the United States during 2014 and compares findings with census data from previous years.
      Press Release | Summary (PDF 246K) | PDF (600K) | ASCII file (31K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 21K)
    Part of the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories Series

    Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, 2009 Presents data on the more than 400 state, municipal, county, and federal crime laboratories operating in the United States during 2009.
      Press Release | PDF (861K) | ASCII file (36K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 48K)
    Part of the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories Series

    Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, 2009 NEARLY 1.2 MILLION FORENSIC REQUESTS TO PUBLICLY FUNDED CRIME LABS WERE BACKLOGGED AT YEAREND 2009, UNCHANGED FROM 2008
      Press Release
    Part of the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories Series

    Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, 2005 "Crime labs received an estimated 2.7 million cases in 2005"
      Press Release | More information about this release
    Part of the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories Series

    Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, 2005 Presents findings from the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, 2005.
      Press Release | PDF (848K) | ASCII file (31K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 17K) | To order paper version
    Part of the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories Series

    Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories, 2002 Reports on the organization, functions, budget and expenditures, staffing, workload, and forensic backlog in the Nation's more than 350 publicly funded crime labs.
      Press Release | PDF (606K) | ASCII file (34K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 60K) | Codebooks and Datasets | To order paper version
    Part of the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories Series

    50 Largest Crime Labs, 2002 Reports on the workload, backlog, and estimated resources needed to meet the demand for forensic services in the Nation's 50 largest publicly funded crime labs.
      PDF (478K) | ASCII file (10K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 8K) | To order paper version


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