The purpose of the major crime-reporting programs is to provide an overview of criminal activity. These programs seek to gain information about the frequency of crimes being committed, the victims impacted by such crimes, and also the type of crime committed. When these programs are used successfully an accurate picture of crime (through statistics) can be presented, therefore allowing such programs to aid lawmakers and other government officials. Such statistics aid in creating crime control programs, planning laws, and also give an idea as to what budget needs set forth for these things. To consider a crime-reporting program successful in the United States, the program would need to present an accurate picture of crimes. Unfortunately, this can be hard to accomplish. Reasons such programs face problems is because not all agencies report crimes the same way, if multiple crimes are committed only the most serious may be listed, some victims do not report crimes, or a crime may be reported as cleared when it has not been solved to name a few examples. For these programs to have real success, departments throughout the United States would need to work together to set standards for how and what is reported.
The Uniform Crime Reporting Program, or UCR, relates crime rates to arrest rates and clearance rates annually through the ‘Crime in the United States’ publication. This report (although not foolproof) gives a statistical picture of how arrests and clearance rates compare to actual crimes reported based on information reported from law enforcement departments across the United States. The UCR, as well as the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), may show higher rates of crime, arrest, and clearance in areas with higher population or lower rates in areas with lower population. The most successful way to improve the correlation of crime, arrest, and clearance rates in effort to combat criminal activity would be to rely on the information provided...
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