APPENDIX I - Methodology

Agencies that contribute to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program forward crime data through the state UCR Programs in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Local agencies in states that do not have a state Program submit statistics directly to the FBI, which provides continuing guidance and support to individual contributing agencies. The state UCR Programs are very effective liaisons between local contributors and the FBI. Many of the state Programs have mandatory reporting requirements and collect data beyond the national UCR Program's scope to address crime problems germane to their particular locales. In most cases, these state Programs also provide more direct and frequent service to participating law enforcement agencies, make information more readily available for statewide use, and streamline the national Program's operations.

The criteria established for state Programs ensure consistency and comparability in the data submitted to the national Program, as well as regular and timely reporting. These criteria are (1) The state Program must conform to national UCR Program standards, definitions, and information required. (2) The state criminal justice agency must have a proven, effective, statewide Program and have instituted acceptable quality control procedures. (3) The state crime reporting must cover a percentage of the population at least equal to that covered by the national UCR Program through direct reporting. (4) The state Program must have adequate field staff assigned to conduct audits and to assist contributing agencies in record-keeping practices and crime-reporting procedures. (5) The state Program must furnish the FBI with all of the detailed data regularly collected by the FBI from individual agencies that report to the State Program in the form of duplicate returns, computer printouts, and/or appropriate electronic media. (6) The state agency must have the proven capability (tested over a period of time) to supply all the statistical data required in time to meet publication deadlines of the national UCR Program.

To fulfill its responsibilities in connection with the UCR Program, the FBI continues to edit and review individual agency reports for both completeness and quality. The national UCR Program staff have direct contact with individual contributors within the state, as necessary, in connection with crime-reporting matters, coordinating such contact with the state agency. On request, staff members conduct training programs within the state on law enforcement record-keeping and crime-reporting procedures. Following audit standards established by the federal government, the FBI conducts an audit of each state's UCR data collection procedures once every 3 years. Should circumstances develop whereby the state agency does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, the national Program may reinstitute a direct collection of Uniform Crime Reports from law enforcement agencies within the state.

Reporting Procedures

Each month the UCR Program tabulates the number of Part I offenses brought to the attention of law enforcement agencies based on all reports of crime received from victims, officers who discover infractions, or other sources. Specifically, the Part I crimes reported to the FBI are murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

Law enforcement agencies report to the FBI the number of actual offenses known regardless of whether anyone is arrested for the crime, stolen property is recovered, or prosecution is undertaken. Complaints of crime that are determined through investigation to be unfounded or false are eliminated from an agency's count.

Another integral part of the monthly submission is the total number of actual Part I offenses cleared. Crimes are cleared in one of two ways: by arrest of at least one person, who is charged and turned over to the court for prosecution, or by 482 CRIME IN THE UNITED STATES exceptional means, when some element beyond law enforcement control precludes the arrest of a known offender. Law enforcement agencies also report the number of clearances that involve only offenders under the age of 18, the value of property stolen and recovered in connection with the offenses, and detailed information pertaining to criminal homicide and arson.

In addition to its primary collection of Part I offenses, the UCR Program solicits monthly data on persons arrested for all crimes except traffic violations. Agencies report the age, sex, and race of arrestees for both Part I and Part II offenses. Part II offenses include all crimes not classified as Part I.

The UCR Program also collects monthly data on law enforcement officers killed or assaulted, and, yearly, the number of full-time sworn and civilian law enforcement personnel employed on October 31. At the end of each quarter, the Program collects summarized information on hate crimes, i.e., specific offenses that were motivated by an offend-er's bias against the perceived race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability of the victim. Those agencies participating in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) submit hate crime data monthly.

Editing Procedures

The UCR Program thoroughly examines each report it receives for arithmetical accuracy and for deviations that may indicate errors. To identify any unusual fluctuations in an agency's crime count, UCR staff compare monthly reports with previous submissions of the agency and with those for similar agencies. Large variations in crime levels may indicate modified records procedures, incomplete reporting, or changes in the jurisdiction's geopolitical structure.

Data reliability is a high priority of the Program, which brings to the attention of the state UCR Program or the submitting agency any deviations or arithmetical adjustments noted by the national staff. A standard FBI procedure is to study the monthly reports and to evaluate periodic trends prepared for individual reporting units. Any signifi-cant increase or decrease becomes the subject of a special inquiry. Changes in crime reporting procedures or annexations can influence the level of reported crime. When this occurs, the UCR Program excludes the figures for specific crime categories or totals, if necessary, from trend tabulations.

To assist contributors in complying with UCR standards, the national Program provides training seminars and instructional materials on crime reporting procedures. Throughout the country, the national UCR Program maintains liaison with state Programs and law enforcement personnel and holds training sessions to explain the purpose of the Program, the rules of uniform classification and scoring, and the methods of assembling the information for reporting. When an individual agency has specific problems in compiling its crime statistics and its remedial efforts are unsuccessful, personnel from the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division may visit the contributor to aid in resolving the difficulties.

The national UCR Program publishes a Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook, which details procedures for classifying and scoring offenses and serves as the contributing agencies' basic resource for preparing reports. The national staff produce letters to UCR contributors and UCR State Program Bulletins as needed. These provide policy updates and new information, as well as clarification of reporting issues.

The final responsibility for data submissions rests with the individual contributing law enforcement agency. Although the Program makes every effort through its editing procedures, training practices, and correspondence to assure the validity of the data it receives, the accuracy of the statistics depends primarily on the adherence of each contributor to the established standards of reporting. Deviations from these established standards, which cannot be resolved by the national UCR Program, may be brought to the attention of the Criminal Justice Information Systems Committees of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs' Association.


Arrest Data

Due to changes in reporting practices, arrest data for Arkansas and New Hampshire are not comparable to previous years' data. Twelve months of complete arrest data were not received for contributing Nevada law enforcement agencies by the established publication deadline. Limited arrest data were received from Illinois, Kentucky, and South Carolina. No 2003 arrest data were received from the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department; the two agencies (Zoological Police and Metro Transit Police) for which 12 months of arrest data were received have no attributable population. Twelve months of arrest figures for New York City Police Department, New York; law enforcement agencies in Florida; and the newly formed city-county law enforcement agency of Louisville Metro Police Department, Kentucky, were not available for inclusion in this book. However, arrest totals for these areas were estimated by the UCR Program for inclusion in Table 29, 'Estimated Number of Arrests, United States, 2003.'


For the 2003 edition of Crime in the United States, the UCR Program obtained current population estimates from the Bureau of the Census to estimate 2003 population counts for all contributing law enforcement agencies. The Bureau of the Census provided revised 2002 state/national population estimates and 2003 state/national population estimates. Using these provisional census data, the national UCR Program updated the 2002 Bureau of the Census city and county estimates and calculated the 2003 state growth rates. Subsequently, the Program updated population figures for individual jurisdictions by applying the 2003...

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