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Why is NIBRS Being Implemented?

On January 1, 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will be retiring the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s Summary Reporting System (SRS). After the deadline, the FBI will only collect crime statistics through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). The move to NIBRS is essential, and here’s why:

NIBRS is More Complete

One primary reason for NIBRS implementation is that it collects more detailed information. NIBRS counts over fifty (50) categories of offenses compared to the ten (10) categories SRS gathers. This more inclusive list includes offenses like extortion, kidnapping, and sex offenses.

NIBRS collects more data on up to ten (10) offenses per incident. This new data collection can help resolve questions about relationships of offenses. For example, it can identify the number of robberies that also included homicide.

Unlike the SRS reporting system - where only the highest-ranking offense is counted - NIBRS doesn’t follow the hierarchy rule. Agencies can report lower-listed offenses in multiple-offense incidents. The old (SRS) method contributed to undercounting offenses and inadequate data.

NIBRS collects details related to the crime(s) that SRS does not. The NIBRS reporting system accounts for 45 locations types, i.e., construction sites, liquor stores, etc. NIBRS defines and collects specific sex offenses, including crimes such as rape, sodomy, and sexual assault with an object, and fondling; and sex offenses, nonforcible, including crimes like statutory rape and incest.

NIBRS Helps Understand Crime

The transition to NIBRS can be nerve-racking for community leaders. The fear of how the media will react to a perceived increase in crime rates can feel daunting. With the change in data reporting, numbers can seem more substantial than usual.

You can proactively manage this by focusing on the benefits of NIBRS reporting. Highlight the differences between NIBRS versus SRS. The transparency NIBRS provides and how it maximizes the ability to understand crime better.

For instance, NIBRS can give context to specific crime problems like drugs/narcotics, sex offenses, animal cruelty, identity theft, and computer hacking. NIBRS looks at offenses within an incident, looking at more offenses than traditional SRS.

In addition to categories of Crimes Against Persons and Crimes Against Property, NIBRS offers the category of Crimes Against Society. Offenses that may fall under this category could include drug/narcotic offenses, gambling offenses, pornography/obscene material offenses, and prostitution offenses.

NIBRS Offers Greater Data Flexibility

Because NIBRS is so detailed, agencies will have the ability to see more facets of crime, their relationships, and connections among these facets.

Local and state incident-based reporting systems include additional data elements and data values to satisfy their local and state needs, providing more links among agencies.

Agencies can sort and filter data with NIBRS. Searching can help officers solve and deter crime. With this new reporting method, you can search for data like the number of weapon law violations that happened at restaurants.

NIBRS furnishes information on nearly every major criminal justice issue facing law enforcement. Using exclusive NIBRS reporting may be overwhelming at first, but once your agency transitions, reporting should be more efficient.

We want to hear your struggles with the NIBRS transition. Please send us an email ( letting us know something you need help to overcome.


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