Message from the Director
At the FBI, we’re improving the way law enforcement reports, analyzes, and uses crime statistics. We’re doing this because information that’s accurate, reliable, timely, and accessible enhances conversations about policing and helps us protect the people we serve.
With richer data, we can more easily identify crime patterns and trends, understand how and why certain crimes are happening, and find the best way to prevent them. Information like this helps leaders decide how to allocate resources and helps counter misconceptions about the scope and nature of crime in the United States.
The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) will be the national standard for crime reporting starting January 1, 2021. We’re encouraging law enforcement agencies to make the shift from the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s Summary Reporting System now. To help meet the deadline, we’ve intensified our outreach efforts and are providing implementation and training resources to our law enforcement partners. We’re also working with the Bureau of Justice Statistics to fund NIBRS technology solutions for roughly 400 local, state, and tribal agencies.
The shift to NIBRS is important. NIBRS provides a more comprehensive view of crime data and allows law enforcement agencies to report detailed offense and arrest information, such as demographics about victims, known offenders, and arrestees, as well as details about specific incidents.
We’re seeing progress throughout the nation. Recently, the Dallas and Houston police departments both transitioned to NIBRS and are currently the nation’s largest agencies certified to submit NIBRS data. Mississippi, the only state without a state UCR Program, is developing a UCR program that supports NIBRS-only crime data.
Last year, we launched the Crime Data Explorer database to make crime data even more accessible. It’s an interactive tool that allows law enforcement and public users to more easily understand UCR crime data on a national level. We’re upgrading the database and publishing data sets more routinely, so that we’ll have a better understanding of what’s happening in our communities.
We’ll also continue to collect law enforcement use-of-force statistics, including all interactions with law enforcement that result in the death or serious bodily injury of a person, and instances when a law enforcement officer discharges a firearm at or in the direction of a person. This information will provide a full view of the circumstances, subjects, and officers involved in such incidents across the nation. Later this year, the FBI will officially expand this data collection effort nationwide, with voluntary participation from local, state, tribal, and federal agencies. So far, approximately 4,000 agencies have enrolled in the program. We hope the information being collected will help all of us – law enforcement and citizens alike – better understand use-of-force incidents.
We want to have greater transparency and accountability in policing. One way to get there is by improving the data. That data will give us a more complete picture of what’s really going on in our communities and allow us to do what we need to do to keep people safe. Let’s work together to make this happen.
Chris Wray, Director