Leaders of the two major U.S. criminology organizations have asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI director Christopher Wray to “immediately revise” the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for last year to restore data that previously was reported publicly.
The Crime & Justice Research Alliance, which represents the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, said “the unnecessary and surprising removal” of most data tables from the report “does not reflect the FBI’s stasted commitment to meeting the needs of the users of these data.”
As reported by FiveThirtyEight.com, the first UCR release during the Trump administration reduced the number of data tables from 81 to 29, with little explanation.
The criminologists said that “given this administration’s public statements about addressing violent crime, victims’ rights, the opioid epidemic and terrorism, it is unfortunate that the 2016 report removes key data about these topic areas.”
The group noted that data from the UCR’s “supplementary homicide reports” are no longer available regarding the victim-offender relationship or the circumstance of the homicide. “This prevents researchers who study family and intimate partner violence from tracking these homicides over time,” the alliance says.
Also missing are “important arrest tables” such as arrests related to specific drug types. The criminologists said the omissions mean that “progress on critical Administration priorities, such as reducing gang and drug-related homicides, cannot be evaluated with up-to-date evidence.”
The alliance letter was signed by its new chairman, criminologist Peter Wood of Eastern Michigan University.
In addition to Sessions and Wray, it was sent to chairmen and ranking members of the Judiciary Committees and Justice Department appropriation subcommittees of the Senate and House.
Ted Gest is president of Criminal Justice Journalists and Washington Bureau Chief of The Crime Report.