The FBI says it will stop collecting crime data in January from any police agency that has not joined a new, more detailed way of reporting crime, reports Newsy.com. The bureau plans to stop collecting crime data for its Uniform Crime Report (UCR) from an estimated one in four police agencies. “It’s a devastating blow to effective public policy,” said Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center, which advocates against gun violence. The center has for more than a decade used UCR data to track hot spots in crime. Each year, it produces a report highlighting trends in how and where women are murdered by men. Understanding and combating the problem has become more urgent during the pandemic, as potential victims are often stuck inside with abusers.
For many years, the FBI has collected counts of reported crimes from local police agencies. For homicides, FBI has long encouraged reporting of expanded data that allow researchers to spot regions with disproportionate violence against certain races, genders, or ages. That is among the data sets that the FBI will stop collecting from thousands of police departments that will miss a deadline to upgrade their crime reporting. The FBI has been trying for decades to move more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). The new system has been widely praised as a more detailed and transparent way of reporting crime. As of the FBI’s annual release of crime data in September, only 51 percent of police agencies that participated in the UCR program submitted data via NIBRS. Bureau officials said they would still take reports for 2020 crimes from non-NIBRS participants but will stop accepting the data from those agencies about any crime after January 1, 2021. Among the 50 largest police agencies, San Francisco, Phoenix and others said they won’t make the deadline.