Beginning January 1, 2021, all law enforcement agencies in the country were required to switch from the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system to the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Both systems were used to track certain offenses within a given jurisdiction. The manner in which UCR and NIBRS track offenses is completely different and the two should not be compared. If you wish to do your own data searches using NIBRS data, follow this link to the FBI Crime Data Explorer.
Similarities Between UCR and NIBRS:
- Both collect data on homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft, and arson.
- Both collect data on the categories “crimes against persons” and “crimes against property.”
Differences Between UCR and NIBRS:
- NIBRS also tracks animal cruelty, extortion, and identity theft offenses.
- NIBRS also documents the category “crimes against society,” which are prohibitions against certain types of activity such as gambling, drugs, pornography, prostitution, and weapons law violations.
Elimination of the Hierarchy Rule:
Under UCR, the hierarchy rule would be applied to every reported incident. Regardless of the number of offenses that occurred during an incident, only the most serious offense would be reported to UCR. This rule has been eliminated under NIBRS. With NIBRS, up to 10 criminal offenses within a single incident can be reported.
Example: If a convenience store is robbed at gunpoint and the offender flees in a vehicle stolen from the parking lot, the criminal has committed armed robbery and motor vehicle theft. In this hypothetical scenario, a total of two offenses occurred within one single incident. Under UCR, only the armed robbery would be reported; under NIBRS, both offenses would be reported.
With these changes under NIBRS, the Decatur Police Department can better inform citizens about crime in their community with FBI certified data. Bear in mind that numerically it will look as though more crimes are being reported; however, it is important to remember that the number of offenses occurring has not changed, only the number of offenses being reported.
Contact the Crime Analysis Unit with questions (217) 424-2723.
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