There are a few different methods that the criminal justice system uses to collect crime-based data. These methods are the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR), National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), and National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). The UCR was created to provide reliable crime statistics for the entire nation.
This system reports the crimes that are reported to law enforcement including the number of arrests made. The UCR separates crime into two categories: PART 1 and PART II. Part I crimes are designed to measure crime trends over time. Part II crimes include less serious crimes. The UCR also runs off of the hierarchy rule. What this means is that in the event that a person had committed multiple accounts of crime, only the most serious crime would be included in the data. There are two different ways they collect crime data, through the use of traditional summary reporting, and NIBRS.
UCR collects useful data regarding known offenses and arrests. Some weaknesses of this system include only records crimes that are reported to law enforcement, does not report all relevant information regarding the crime, law enforcement doesn’t always complete a crime report and submit it to the UCR. Some strengths of this system include a primary source of data regarding criminality, reliable enough to provide details regarding trends of crime over time, a mass of research conducted over the years.
Next, there is the NCVS. They collect data regarding personal and household victimization by the use of a self-survey report. This method is a survey that surveys victims about their experience with criminal offenses.
This system was designed to provide detailed statistics about victimization and the effects of crime, estimate number of crimes committed that don’t get reported to law enforcement and be able to provide comparisons over time regarding specific areas. Some weaknesses of this system include: Only a small number of crimes are included in the data, Data collected throughout the interview process may be deemed unreliable, Respondents may not accurately recall events. Some strengths of this system include: Provides more in-depth understanding regarding crime, Includes crimes that are not reported to law enforcement, Provides characteristics regarding the victim.
Finally, there is the NIBRS. This system was formed by the UCR in an attempt to provide more in-depth and detailed crime statistics. They work to provide detailed and reliable data regarding incidents of crime to law enforcement, researchers, and the public. This system collects evidence with the help of law enforcement agencies by requesting a brief summary of incidents of crime.
The types of information they require typically include the type of crime, the victim, and information regarding the offender. Some weaknesses of this system include complicated analyzing of data collected, data inconsistencies, reluctance towards the NIBRS from officers. Some strengths of this system include: collects all data on each offense and arrest, reaches a large majority of people through surveying, provides additional information on both the victim and offender.