Questions for Discussion

  • 1. Since both the UCR Program and the NCVS demonstrate that crime has been steadily declining since 1993, what is the reason for this great crime decline?
  • 2. Are we as a society becoming less violent? Why or why not?
  • 3. What is the future of statistics in law enforcement?

Important Terms

ArcGIS: Geographical information systems software program developed by ESRI, a California-based company that has been specializing in GIS since 1969. ArcGIS gives the crime analyst the ability to take data from CAD or RMS, give it a geographic location, and put it on a map.

Bureau of Justice Statistics: The BJS was established in 1979 under the Justice Systems Improvement Act of 1979, an amendment to the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. The mission of the BJS is to collect, analyze, publish, and disseminate information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government.

CAD: Computer-aided dispatch; system maintained by the agency responsible for 911 dispatching. CAD captures and stores several vital pieces of information for future police use.

CompStat: Accountability and management system used by many police departments to determine the hot spots of crime and to better deploy personnel and develop effective crime control strategies.

Crime rate: The UCR Program’s crime rate reports the number of crimes for every 100,000 people in the population.

Dark figures of crime: Self-report surveys are a way to learn more about the dark figures of crime—the individuals that don’t show up in official statistics.

National Crime Statistics Exchange: Program designed to generate nationally representative incident-based data on crimes reported to law enforcement agencies. It involves the FBI recruiting a sample of 400 law enforcement agencies to supplement the existing NIBRS data by providing their incident data to their state (or the federal) NIBRS data collection program.

National Crime Victimization Survey: Conducted annually since 1972 by the Bureau of the Census and the Department of Justice, this random survey focuses on the victims of crime.

National Incident-Based Reporting System: Under NIBRS, participating law enforcement authorities provide offense and arrest data to the FBI on 22 broad categories of crime covering 46 offenses, while providing only arrest information on 11 other offenses. This reporting system may replace the UCR Program in the future.

RMS: Records Management System; system that allows the collection and storage of relevant police data for future use.

Self-report data: Data collected from individuals who are asked to reveal information about themselves and their offenses.

Uniform Crime Reports: Collection of crime statistics from more than 18,000 state and federal law enforcement agencies and complied by the FBI into an annual report.

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