This paper will discuss the methods of collecting criminal data. It will touch on the major differences of these methods and which one is considered the best. The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) are the two methods of collecting such data. Both are used for specific purposes which creates differences and allows us to analyze which method is considered better.
Keywords: criminal data, uniform crime reporting, national crime victimization
Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) are the two methods for the collection of criminal justice data. Each of these programs produces valuable information about aspects of the Nation's crime problem. Because the UCR and NCVS programs are conducted for different purposes, use different methods, and focus on somewhat different aspects of crime (U.S. Department of Justice).
The FBI's UCR program, which began in 1929, collects information on the following crimes reported to law enforcement authorities: homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Arrests are reported for 21 additional crime categories.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics' NCVS, which began in 1973, provides a detailed picture of crime incidents, victims, and trends. After a substantial period of research, in 1993 the survey completed an intensive methodological redesign. The redesign was undertaken to improve the questions used to uncover crime, update the survey methods, and broaden the scope of crimes measured. The redesigned survey collects detailed information on the frequency and nature of the crimes of rape, sexual assault, personal robbery, aggravated and simple assault, household burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft. It does not measure homicide or commercial crimes (such as burglaries of stores) (U.S. Department of Justice).