Professor Mark Stallo
Research Methods in Criminal Justice
October 12, 2012
Uniform Crime Report
A Uniform Crime Report is a data series published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that has been collected since 1930 and has been widely used by criminal justice researchers to collect data on crime. (Maxfield & Babbie, 2012) Law enforcement agencies provide the crime data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and then the reports are compiled and created. The Uniform Crime Report does not count all crimes that are reported to the police. Part I offenses such as murders and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft are all counted in the Uniform Crime Report. (Maxfield & Babbie, 2012) There are a large number of crimes that are not measured in the Uniform Crime Report because they are considered to be Part II crimes. Part II crimes consist of shoplifting, drug sale or use, fraud, prostitution, simple assault, vandalism, receiving stolen property, and other non-traffic offenses. (Maxfield & Babbie, 2012) Part II crimes are counted on the Uniform Crime Reports only if that person has been arrested and charged with a crime. These crimes do represent a large number of offenses that occur across the United States. And since they are only reported if a person has been arrested and charged with a crime, this does create some measurement errors in the Uniform Crime Report.
In the 1920’s, the International Association of Chiefs of Police formed the Committee on Uniform Crime Reports. (Atlas, 2011) This committee wanted to establish a system of uniform police crime statistics. This committee evaluated various crimes based on how serious the crime is and how frequent that crime occurred as well as the likelihood of it being reported to law enforcement in all areas of the country. (Atlas, 2011) After the studies and evaluations were completed in each state, the Committee completed a plan for crime reporting that became the foundation of the Uniform Crime Report Program in 1929. (Atlas, 2011)
Every month, law enforcement agencies across the United States submit results on the amount of Part I index offenses to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The index offenses consists of criminal homicide: the willful non-negligent killing of one human being by another or a death caused by negligence, attempted killings, and suicides; Forcible rape: the knowledge of raping a female forcibly and against her will and attempts or assaults excluding statutory offenses; Robbery: The taking or attempting to take anything of value from the custody or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force; Aggravated assault: an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury with the use of a weapon; Burglary: The unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft; Larceny theft: the unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another such as bicycles, shoplifting, and pocket-picking; Motor vehicle theft: the theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle; Arson: any willful or malicious burning or attempt to burn, with or without intent to defraud a house, public building or any other personal property of another. (Atlas, 2011) Arson was not included in the Part I crime index’s originally when the Committee first formed the Uniform Crime Report. It was later added in 1979 to be included on the Uniform Crime Report.
Before looking into the Uniform Crime Report statistics, violent crime in Illinois seems to have been on the rise especially the major metropolitan areas like Chicago. Just based on the news reports and changes in the communities that I have seen over the years has led me to believe that violent crime has increased tremendously. But after looking into the statistics more and reviewing the Uniform Crime Reports for the state Illinois I was able to really determine how violent crime was measured and recorded in Illinois. I will be reviewing violent crimes consisting of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault from the years of 2006 through 2010. I have included a table showing the crime reporting statistics for the state of Illinois from 2006 through 2010.
Table 1, State of Illinois
The statistics that appear in table 1 from the Uniform Crime Report show that in the categories of aggravated assault, robbery, forcible rape, and murder and non-negligent homicide, the number of violent crimes overall has decreased or stayed approximately the same from the years 2006 through 2010. Aggravated assaults in the years 2006 and 2010 had noticeably dropped while robberies stayed approximately the same throughout the five years with the biggest drop in the years 2006 and 2010 as well. Aggravated assaults in 2006 were reported at 40,858 and 32,042 in 2010. Forcible rape also stayed consistent during the five years with the exception of years 2006 and 2010. In 2006, forcible rape was reported at 4,078 and 3,033 in 2010. Murders and non-negligent homicides were surprisingly reported approximately about the same from 2006 through 2010. That category also had the biggest change in the year 2006 and 2010. Overall, the crimes reported show that crime has had its biggest decrease in the year 2010 in all four crime index categories. There isn’t a significant amount of differences amongst the numbers reported for violent crimes, but there still shows some improvement from the years 2006 through 2010. When looking at other states violent crime statistics between the years of 2006 through 2010 in comparison to Illinois, I reviewed Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. These three states were similar to Illinois in population. Violent crime trends in Illinois did not mirror these states at all. Tables 2, 3 and 4 show the crime rates between Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania between the years of 2006 through 2010.
Table 2, State of Michigan
Table 3, State of Ohio
Table 4, State of Pennsylvania
Although the Uniform Crime Report numbers for these states above are very different from one another, there were some noticeable changes within all four states. While Michigan and Illinois had similar aggravated assaults, Ohio had a significant amount that was less. The biggest difference is shown in the year 2006 where Illinois had 40,858 aggravated assaults, and Ohio only had 15,973. Forcible rapes were pretty consistent in decreases in the four states, but Ohio had the highest reduction from 2006 through 2010. Robberies is also an area where the statistics reported were shown to have decreased consistently in all four states throughout the same years. This was a major similarity between the four states with Illinois reporting the highest robbery crimes amongst Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The last crime offense what was looked at was murder and non-negligent homicide. This is another area where it showed a consistent decrease amongst all four states with Ohio having the lowest amount of murders and non-negligent homicides reported in the year 2010 compared to the other states. Most of the areas in each state showed trends of a consistent pattern even though the numbers reported and shown were different from year to year. Overall, there is a pattern that shows in all four states that violent crimes appear to be decreasing starting from the year 2006 through 2010 which is good. There were some discrepancies that were reported with the forcible rape offenses in the state of Illinois. According to the Uniform Crime Report in the year 2006, Illinois data include arrests made for rapes of male victims. Therefore, Illinois figures for forcible rape include only forcible rape offenses from Rockford, Illinois that had female victims. (Justice, 2007) In other words, Rockford, Illinois is the only part of the state that is submitting data for female victims of forcible rapes whereas the remaining area is not. Therefore the national Uniform Crime Report did not include all of the arrest data. There are other crimes that are not reported in the Uniform Crime Report such as drug sale or use, vandalism, simple assault, prostitution, and all other non-traffic offenses. Because of this, a large number of crimes reported are not measured in the Uniform Crime Report. (Maxfield & Babbie, 2012) The hierarchy rule is also another measurement error in the Uniform Crime Report that is used by police agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to classify crimes. Under the hierarchy rule, if multiple crimes are committed in a single incident, only the most serious is counted in the Uniform Crime Report. (Maxfield & Babbie, 2012) This is what was seen in the crime statistics for Illinois. According to the Uniform Crime Report for Illinois, valid counts for murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault were available only for agencies in cities 100,000 and over in population. (Justice, 2007) The only available data generated by the Illinois State Program were totals based upon an incident-level system without indication of multiple offenses recorded within single incidents. (Justice, 2007) Therefore, the Uniform Crime Report hierarchy rule could not be applied in order to convert the state’s data to Summary format. (Justice, 2007) To arrive at a comparable state estimate to be included in national compilations, the Illinois State Program’s totals were reduced by the proportion of multiple offenses reported within single incidents in the National Incident-Based Reporting System database. Data for cities 100,000 and over in population were excluded from the reduction process. (Justice, 2007) Even though there are many measurement errors in the Uniform Crime Report, I still believe that the report is very useful throughout the United States. It gives an estimated figure on violent and property crimes from state to state. This is important because based on the measures of accurately assessing these crimes, more tactical ways to minimize crime amongst police agencies can be developed based on what is being reported in the Uniform Crime Report. We all want our communities to be as safe as possible and this is a great way to start along with monthly meetings about what is being reported in each area of the cities.
Atlas, N. (2011, January 26). Summary of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Retrieved October 5, 2012, from Summary of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program: http://www.nationalatlas.gov/articles/people/a_crimereport.html Justice, U. S. (2007, September 1). Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 10 05, 2012, from Crime in the United States: http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/data/table_05_dd.html Maxfield, M. G., & Babbie, E. R. (2012). Basics of Research Methods. In M. G. Maxfield, & E. R. Babbie, Basics of Research Methods (p. 90). Belmont: Cenveo Publisher Services.