Despite the benefits of NIBRS, which include a detailed and more inclusive method of gathering, filing and reporting crime data, many agencies are resistant to making the switch from the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s Summary Reporting System.
In addition to being legally mandated, there are many other compelling reasons to make the change to NIBRS. Here are the top 5:
1. ACCESS TO FEDERAL GRANTS
Agencies who rely on federal grants and funding to subsidize necessities such as new computers or equipment will need to be NIBRS compliant in order to remain eligible.
2. NO HIERARCHY RULE RESTRICTIONS
The UCR Hierarchy Rule only acknowledges the most serious offense within an incident, while overlooking lower-level-but-still-important offenses that also occurred within that incident. NIBRS allows you to report up to 10 offenses per incident, ensuring a more accurate, inclusive report.
3. INCREASED SPECIFICITY IN REPORTING OFFENSES
With NIBRS you can collect detailed data for 52 offenses, along with 10 more offenses where only arrests are reported. With UCR you can only count limited data for 10 offenses, along with 20 more crimes where only arrests are reported.
4. EXCEPTIONAL LEVEL OF DETAIL
No matter the offense, NIBRS records demographic information (race, ethnicity, age and sex) of victims, arrestees and known offenders. UCR only does this for murder. In addition, NIBRS gathers data on gang involvement, time of day, weapons and force, location, and drug types and quantities.
5. CRIME DEPICTION CLARITY
Unlike UCR’s limited data gathering capabilities, NIBRS allows for collecting the finer details of an incident, resulting in a better, clearer, and more accurate description of the crime.
Don’t wait to comply. The NIBRS compliance process will take an agency a minimum of three months to implement. This doesn’t take into account the many delays, such as NIBRS training and RMS implementation, which should also be considered part of the process plan.