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2002 Bulletins

Developments in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)

Note: The excerpts are presented as they were originally published in the UCR State Program Bulletin and therefore will include any additions, deletions, or clarifications released in subsequent bulletins. Readers are urged to read this document in its entirety before making any programming changes.

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UCR State
Program Bulletin 02-1, March 2002

Scoring Offenses in Which “Date Rape” Drugs are Used

A local law enforcement agency recently asked for clarification on proper scoring, according to UCR definitions, of two scenarios involving a date rape drug.

The Summary system defines forcible rape as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” (Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook, 1984, page 10). The NIBRS definition of forcible rape is:

The carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (or because of his/her youth) (UCR Handbook, NIBRS Edition, 1992, page 21).

Scenario #1: A male slipped a date rape drug into a woman’s drink. Before he could lure the victim away from her friends, however, someone noticed what he had done and summoned the police. A police officer found the drug and the identity of the suspect. He determined that the suspect had administered the date rape drug with the intent to incapacitate the woman and commit a sexual assault.

Because the offender used the date rape drug to physically incapacitate the woman and intended to commit a sexual act “forcibly” and “against her will,” the reporting agency should classify the offense as an attempted forcible rape. Agencies that report data via the Summary system should, “Score one offense for each female raped or upon whom an assault to rape or attempt to rape has been made” (UCR Handbook,Attempted. 1984, page 10). Agencies that report data via NIBRS should capture Data Element 6, UCR Offense Code, as 11A Forcible Rape, and enter Data Element 7, Offense Attempted/Completed, as A =

Scenario #2: An officer ascertained that a male had slipped a date rape drug into a woman’s drink, but he was unable to determine the perpetrator’s intent.

Because the investigating officer was unable to determine the suspect’s intention, the incident cannot be counted as an attempted rape. Since the UCR Program considers a date rape drug as a poison and poisoning is among the offenses included in aggravated assault, this offense should be classified as an aggravated assault. (See UCR Handbook, 1984, page 16.)

Removal of Recommendation Five for Easing the Implementation Standards for NIBRS Requirements

At its December 2001 meeting, the CJIS Advisory Policy Board voted to remove Recommendation Five of the standards for easing NIBRS implementation.

Background: In December 1998, the FBI adopted five recommendations that had been submitted and accepted through the CJIS Advisory Process. The aim of these recommendations was to ease the implementation of NIBRS for local agencies that had difficulty complying with full NIBRS implementation requirements. Based on the impact to their individual systems, state UCR Program managers and local agencies could adopt none, some, or all of the recommendations.

Recommendation Five allowed agencies to treat the following Group A offenses as if they were Group B offenses, reporting an incident number and the data elements that describe the arrestee and the circumstances of the arrest, i.e., Group B arrest reports.

Drug/Narcotic Offenses

    • Drug/Narcotic Violations (35A)—This would require agencies to also report Data Element 12, Type Criminal Activity, and Data Element 20, Drug Type.

    • Drug Equipment Violations (35B)

Gambling Offenses

    • Betting/Wagering (39A)

    • Operating/Promoting/Assisting Gambling (39B)

    • Gambling Equipment Violations (39C)

    • Sports Tampering (39D)

Pornography/Obscene Material (370)

Prostitution Offenses

    • Prostitution (40A)

    • Assisting or Promoting Prostitution (40B)

Weapon Law Violations (520)

The intent of the relaxed implementation standards was to promote agency participation in NIBRS. However, when agencies applied this recommendation to their reporting practices, the agencies found that the operational information being eliminated was critical to their efforts to conduct effective community policing and allocate resources appropriately.

Furthermore, state Program managers collecting NIBRS data reported that as agencies within their state considered participating in NIBRS, Recommendation 5 was problematic. Not only did the agencies lose valuable operational information, but their implementing the recommendation created system incompatibilities between the local agencies’ and the state Program’s.

System modifications will be published in future State Program Bulletins.

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UCR State Program Bulletin 02-2, July 2002

New National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) Coordinator Announced

Effective July 19, 2002, Mr. Gregory S. Swanson assumed the responsibility as the national UCR Program’s NIBRS Coordinator. In supporting the Program’s vision for increasing NIBRS implementation and participation, Mr. Swanson will liaise with personnel both internal and external to the FBI for the purpose of coordinating NIBRS issues with the Regional Working Groups, the UCR Subcommittee, and the CJIS Advisory Policy Board. Mr. Swanson, a Management Analyst in the FBI’s Education/Training Services Unit, replaces Mr. Christopher L. Enourato.

Bias Motivation Code 99 in Data Element 8A

A review of NIBRS data has revealed that there is a relatively high number of incidents submitted with a bias motivation code of 99 = Unknown in Data Element 8A as opposed to incidents indicating a specific bias motivation (codes 11-52) or no bias motivation (88 = None). In the 2000 data, for example, over 142,000 incidents were coded as unknown, but only 8,063 incidents were coded and subsequently published as having been motivated by some type of bias. So far, two factors have been identified in contributing to the high number of unknowns:

1) NIBRS software defaulting to 99 = Unknown.
2) A misunderstanding as to the intent and utility of 99 = Unknown.

In some cases, NIBRS software has been programmed to default to code 99 = Unknown when data entry personnel skip Data Element 8A, Bias Motivation. Currently, the national UCR Program is working with states that are known to have this problem to initiate programming changes with their NIBRS software.

Regarding the proper use of code 99 = Unknown, page 75 of NIBRS Volume 1: Data Collection Guidelines, August 2000) states that “. . . incidents that do not involve any facts indicating biased motivation on the part of the offender are to be reported as 88 = None, whereas incidents involving ambiguous facts (some facts are present but are not conclusive) should be reported as 99 = Unknown.”

Statistical reasonableness checks allow that the presence of bias motivation is undeterminable in a very small percentage of incidents, which includes those under current investigation. However, the high percentage of unknowns submitted by some agencies indicates that the agency is not modifying its reports with the final results of the investigations (to show 88 = None or a specific bias motivation, codes 11-52), their investigations are inconclusive, or perhaps they are using the code as a means to avoid determining the presence or absence of bias motivation altogether.

The original intent of bias motivation code 99 = Unknown is to allow an agency the opportunity to report a crime in which bias motivation is suspected until a final decision has been made and to report those instances in which the presence of bias motivation is inconclusive. Once the incident reports are modified to indicate the results of subsequent investigations and hate crime data are finalized with year-end totals, reporting agencies should have few, if any, hate crime offenses coded with 99 = Unknown.

The national UCR Program has contacted state UCR Program managers in the states affected by excessive use of 99 = Unknown and has requested follow-up with the reporting agency(ies) so the offenses in question can be updated when possible to indicate whether or not a bias-motivated offense occurred. Careful use of code 99 will enable law enforcement to report bias-motivated criminal offenses more accurately.

Future LEOKA Submissions via NIBRS

In the December 2001 State Program Bulletin, the national UCR Program announced that it would begin collecting LEOKA data at the incident level via NIBRS on June 1, 2002, through three new data elements and a series of new data codes. Due to programming delays, however, the national Program has postponed adopting the new format and has established the following alternate LEOKA submission dates:

  • TEST DATA—Beginning October 1, 2002, the national UCR Program will begin accepting the new LEOKA format in NIBRS as test data.

  • PRODUCTION DATA—Effective January 1, 2003, the national UCR Program will enter the new LEOKA data submissions into the NIBRS 2003 Master File and will subsequently use the data for analyses and publication purposes.

State UCR Program managers are reminded that the LEOKA reporting method, i.e., use of the new NIBRS format (with the new LEOKA data elements and codes) or the older LEOKA data record (specified in NIBRS Volume 2: Data Submission Specifications [May 1992], pages 36-38) must be consistent among all reporting agencies within a state. An addendum to the NIBRS volumes that will provide program modifications for reporting LEOKA data with the new NIBRS data elements will be mailed to the state NIBRS agencies this fall.

Developments in the NIBRS now Available On-Line

As law enforcement agencies make the Summary-to-NIBRS transition, they have called upon several different vendors to develop incident-based systems that comply with the national UCR Program’s standards yet accommodate their agency’s unique requirements. Though the FBI’s UCR Program keeps agencies up to date of the NIBRS programming changes through periodically disseminating UCR State Program Bulletins, many agencies requested a way to ensure that the same information (minus the business of the Program) is available to the vendors. In response to these requests, the national Program has compiled a web document entitled Developments in the NIBRS,State Program Bulletins that provide a historical perspective of the evolution of NIBRS including procedural changes, reporting clarifications, and policy additions that have occurred from 1999 to present. Note: The excerpts are presented as they were originally published in the State Program Bulletin. However, subsequent excerpts may have additions, deletions, or clarifications to those from earlier bulletins. Therefore, users are urged to read the document in its entirety before making any programming changes. The document, which will be updated as needed, can be found at www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm. From that site, users can download Adobe Acrobat 5.0 in order to view the portable document file of Developments in the NIBRS. which includes excerpts from UCR.

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UCR State Program Bulletin 02-3, October 2002

Duplicate Hate Crime Submissions

In some instances, when a state Program is in transition from summary reporting to NIBRS or the state has both summary and NIBRS agencies, the state UCR Program is submitting hate crime incidents with specific incident numbers on the state’s NIBRS tape, then resubmitting the same incidents with slightly different incident numbers on the Hate Crime Incident Report forms (paper). Because the incident numbers differ (even if only slightly), the computer system does not recognize that the incidents are already in the hate crime database and enters the incidents a second time, resulting in duplications. State UCR Program managers should note that incidents submitted on the NIBRS tape should not be resubmitted on paper forms.

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