Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR)
The UCR has been the starting place for law enforcement executives, students of criminal justice, researchers, members of the media, and the public at large seeking information on crime in the nation. The program was conceived in 1929 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to meet the need for reliable uniform crime statistics for the nation. In 1930, the FBI was tasked with collecting, publishing, and archiving those statistics.
Each year, nearly 17,000 law enforcement agencies in America voluntarily provide the FBI with statistics on eight index crimes: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. In accordance with the program's "Hierarchy Rule," only the most serious index crime committed during an incident is reported. The crime data are submitted either through a state UCR Program or directly to the FBI’s UCR Program. View the UCR Resource Guide.
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. Learn more about UCR methodology.
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.
All states and territories operate internal UCR programs to support crime fighting in their jurisdictions and to facilitate reporting to the FBI. The Association of State Uniform Crime Reporting Programs (ASUCRP) serves as a national organization of state UCR program representatives, assisting in the exchange of technical data between states, as well as in training, research, and the development of cooperative relationships among justice practitioners at the local, state, and federal levels. The Association reports that 46 states, the District of Columbia, and two territories are active ASUCRP members.
National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)
In 1982, DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the FBI sponsored a study of the UCR Program, with the objective of revising it to meet law enforcement needs into the 21st century. A 5-year redesign effort to provide more comprehensive and detailed crime statistics resulted in the NIBRS, which presents comprehensive, detailed information about individual crime incidents to law enforcement, researchers, governmental planners, students of crime, and the general public.
Under the summary-based UCR Program, law enforcement authorities aggregate the number of incidents by offense type and report these monthly totals to the FBI. Such reporting provides limited information about offenses, victims, and offenders and includes reported arrests for 21 additional crime categories.
Under NIBRS, law enforcement authorities provide information to the FBI on each criminal incident involving 46 specific offenses (including the eight Part I crimes reported under the UCR Program) and 11 lesser offenses that occur in their jurisdiction. Details about each incident include information about multiple victims and offenders.
More information about NIBRS can be found on the NACJD and BJS websites.
National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
The BJS National Crime Victimization Survey is a national source of information on criminal victimization. Each year, data are obtained from a nationally representative sample of about 90,000 households, comprising nearly 160,000 persons, on the frequency, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States. Each household is interviewed twice during the year. The survey enables BJS to estimate the likelihood of victimization by rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, theft, household burglary, and motor vehicle theft for the population as a whole as well as for segments of the population such as women, the elderly, members of various racial or ethnic groups, city dwellers, and other groups. The NCVS provides the largest national forum for victims to describe the impact of crime and characteristics of violent offenders.
Combined DNA Index System (CODIS)
All 50 States authorize the collection and analysis of DNA samples from convicted state offenders, and enter resulting DNA profiles into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which the FBI has established pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 14132. In addition to collecting DNA samples from convicted state offenders, several states authorize the collection of DNA samples from individuals they arrest. The CODIS system maintains DNA profiles obtained under the federal, state, and local systems in a set of databases that are available to law enforcement agencies across the country for law enforcement purposes. CODIS can compare crime scene evidence to a database of DNA profiles obtained from convicted offenders. CODIS can also link DNA evidence obtained from different crime scenes, thereby identifying serial criminals. In order to take advantage of the investigative potential of CODIS, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, states began passing laws requiring offenders convicted of certain offenses to provide DNA samples.
Learn more about CODIS and the National DNA Index System.