The FBI has issued details on some 5.4 million criminal offenses reported via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) last year. NIBRS, which the FBI hopes eventually will replace its annual summary report called “Crime in the United States,” includes details about victims, known offenders, and relationships for 23 offense categories comprised of 49 offenses. The FBI acknowledged that the NIBRS data are not nationally representative because they cover only 35.2 percent of law enforcement agencies that participate in the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. The new data set includes information on nearly 6 million crime victims and 4.4 million offenders.
For many years, the FBI has been encouraging local law enforcement agencies to provide NIBRS data. FBI director James Comey, addressing the International Association of Chiefs of Police in October, said that without more information about crimes, “every single conversation in this country about policing and reform and justice is uninformed, and that is a very bad place to be. So I hope you will join me in getting us all to move to NIBRS.” How incomplete is NIBRS? The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics’ annual Crime Victimization Survey for last year, which is based on interviews with a sample of citizens and includes crime not reported to police, estimated 5.4 million violent incidents and 15 million property crimes around the nation in 2014.