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Comparing SRS to NIBRS Data Collection

The UCR Summary Reporting System (SRS) collected monthly counts of the number of crimes known to law enforcement from thousands of agencies throughout the United States. Information on the number of crimes known was recorded for ten offense categories based on the most serious offense reported for each crime incident:

  • Murder and non-negligent manslaughter

  • Rape

  • Robbery

  • Aggravated assault

  • Burglary

  • Larceny-theft

  • Motor vehicle theft

  • Arson

  • Human trafficking - commercial sex acts

  • Human trafficking - involuntary servitude

In addition, the SRS collected counts of arrests only for an additional set of offense categories, broken down by the age, sex, and race of the arrestee.

The Hierarchy Rule means that all incidents are considered a single crime, even if they contain more than one crime. For instance, if a murder and robbery are committed, only the murder is counted because it is considered the most serious. The exception to this rule is arson, which is always reported.

The limited number of reported offenses and the lack of supplementary data collected about incidents in SRS reporting led to the development of the NIBRS reporting system.

NIBRS expands on the ten offense types measured in the SRS and collects incident and arrest information from law enforcement agencies for 22 categories of offenses in Group A and arrest information only for ten additional offenses in Group B.

In addition to counts of crimes and arrests, NIBRS was designed to collect detailed information on the attributes of each crime incident known to law enforcement, including—

  • The date, time, and location of the incident

  • A detailed list of all offenses that occurred in the incident, not just the most serious offense

  • Demographic information on each victim and offender involved in the incident

  • The relationships between each of the victims and the offenders

  • Other details of the incident, including victim injury, type of weapon involved, alcohol or drug involvement, property loss, and drugs seized

  • Clearance information, including both arrest and clearances by exceptional means

  • Date of arrest and arrestee demographics

The requirements put on Law Enforcement to collect this additional data is one reason for the slower acceptance of NIBRS. The expansion of the data collected by NIBRS means that reporting systems must be much more robust and rules-based to smoothy collect, validate, and submit data upstream to make NIBRS easier to manage for Law Enforcement.


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