UCR and Crime Rates

The most important information proved by the UCR Program concerns crime rates and arrest rates. A UCR crime rate is like a percentage;

it compares the number of crimes to the size of the population. The UCR Program’s crime rates reveal the number of crimes for every

  • 100.000 people in the population. The size of the population depends on the geographical area being examined. For example, if the city of Gotham has 500,000 people and if 5,000 burglaries occurred in this city in a particular year, then the crime rate is determined by this formula: the number of crimes (burglaries, 5,000) divided by the population (500,000). That comes out to 0.01. This result is multiplied by 100,000, which in this example results in 1,000. This means that
  • 5.000 burglaries in Gotham with a population of 500,000 is equivalent to 1,000 burglaries for every 100,000 persons. Consequently, Gotham has a burglary rate of 1,000 per 100,000 persons.

The use of crime rates is important because they allow us to determine whether one city or area has a greater crime problem than another city or area. For instance, in our example in the preceding paragraph, Gotham has a burglary rate of 1,000 per 100,000 persons. However, the city of Metropolis, a larger city in the same state, has a burglary rate of 850 per 100,000 persons. Thus, we could say that when it comes to burglaries, Metropolis is a safer city than Gotham.

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