NIBRS Administrative Segment Explained
NIBRS Submissions may seem complex, but it becomes much easier to understand when you break them down into small chunks. NIBRS submissions can be generated in ASCII Text (Plain readable text) or XML File formats. For more information on XML files, check out our tech tips – it just basically means the data is formatted in headers that make it more machine-readable but slightly less human-readable. We will cover the ASCII format used in many places, including Pennsylvania. When NIBRS data is generated into an ASCII text format, there are eight segments in the NIBRS file (numbered 0–7). Each segment represents in a single line in the text file. The segments are separated with a "newline" character, meaning each segment is its own line. The XML File follows all the same rules, with much different formatting.
You may hear one of your NIBRS contacts talking about the Level 1 segment. The Level 1 Segment is commonly referred to as the Administrative segment. It contains administrative information for a single incident. This information includes the incident number, date, time, and a list of offenses. Only one Level 1 segment is submitted for each incident with an offense in the Group A category. Each Level 1 segment may have one or more segments from Levels 2 through 6.
The Administrative Segment contains the following Data Elements (We have also included a handy reference chart below):
Data Element 1 – ORI
The FBI provides nine characters to submit your agency's NCIC-provided ORI number. Since an ORI uniquely identifies your agency within NIBRS, it is highly recommended to verify its accuracy before you begin submitting. For most agencies, the ORI is a setting in your RMS.
Data Element 2 – Incident Number
The incident number uniquely identifies a Group A incident report in NIBRS. An incident number is also referred to as a case number. Incident numbers must be unique for each incident and may only contain numbers, capital letters, or a hyphen. Except for a hyphen, special and blank characters are not permitted within an incident number.
Data Element 3 – Incident Date
The incident date indicates when the offense occurred or when the incident was reported. The date reported is only used when the occurred date is unknown. In either scenario, the date should be reported to the FBI in the format YYYYMMDD.
Data Element 3 – Report Date Indicator
The report date indicator indicates when the date reported is being used for the incident date above. A value of "R" is sent to indicate the date reported is being used. If the field is left blank, then the occurred date is used.
Data Element 3 – Incident Hour
The hour of the incident indicates the hour in which the offense occurred. Values of 00 - 23 are acceptable. Reporting is straightforward; if the incident happened between 2300 and 2359, you report 23.
If the incident occurred at midnight, report it as 00.
Data Element 4 – Cleared Exceptionally
Cleared exceptionally indicates that the incident was cleared by exceptional means. The FBI has a set of valid exceptional clearance events like the offender's death or the victim refusing to cooperate. It doesn't include administratively closing an incident. Do note if you submit an exceptional clearance, your submission cannot have an arrestee segment.
Data Element 5 – Exceptional Clearance Date
The date the incident was cleared using an exceptional means event.
It is submitted to the FBI in the format YYYYMMDD.
Exceptional Clearance Offense Code – Place Holder (Deprecated)
This field is now deprecated and no longer used, but some NIBRS implementations which are not current may mention it. We have included it here for completeness' sake.
(Optional) Cargo Theft
Used to indicate whether cargo theft occurred for an applicable property offense. It is crucial to understand that to classify an incident as cargo theft, the items must be part of a commercial shipment and be in the supply chain.
For example, a package sent via FedEx is in commercial shipment until it is delivered at the destination. Once the package is delivered, it is no longer considered a commercial shipment and is no longer defined as cargo theft.
Judicial District Code (For Federal Agency Reporting Only)
Indicates a legal district that denotes a territory for which a federal court has jurisdiction. There are currently 95 federal judicial districts across the United States and its territories.
This should give you a pretty good idea of what the individual data fields are storing in the ASCII file you would be submitting. Here is a chart showing the fields and lengths you should expect.
Now you know the ins and outs of the Administrative segment, and over the coming months, we will dive deeper. The intent is that in a few months, you will understand how the file works and what the data means. While charts and field lists can help, going through what each field does and its purpose will allow you to get to a point where you start to understand the file. We spend days each month reviewing this information individually with NIBRS staff, so why not share it with everyone? With some knowledge, that giant mess of characters can start to make sense (And once it makes sense, the errors make a bit more sense, too!).
00881I122021 PA852412320210001372420210315 23N N
Source: The FBI NIBRS Tech Specs