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The Nation’s Two Crime Measures Webinar

Event Dates
Event Duration
2 hours

The U.S. Department of Justice administers two statistical programs to measure the magnitude, nature, and impact of crime in the nation: the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). These data collections together provide a comprehensive understanding of crime in the United States. This webinar provided an overview of what information is collected and how it is obtained for each data collection, including the similarities and differences between the NCVS and NIBRS. In addition, presenters facilitated an interactive session to allow registrants to apply their knowledge about these two important collections. The webinar closed with a Q&A session.

The View from Law Enforcement Data: A Primer on the National Incident-Based Reporting System 

In 2021, the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) became the nation’s official measure of crimes and arrests recorded by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Over the past decade, BJS has played a central role in the transition to NIBRS by providing direct financial and technical support to hundreds of law enforcement agencies making the transition to incident-based crime data reporting. BJS is also the principal agency tasked with developing annual nationally representative estimates of crime based on NIBRS submissions. NIBRS was designed to improve on the FBI’s Summary Reporting System, which compiled annual counts of a limited number of offenses. NIBRS collects information on 71 offenses, allowing greater flexibility and specificity in the nation’s crime statistics. NIBRS also marks a shift toward collecting the elements of criminal events, including the time of day and location of the incident, whether multiple victims and/or offenders were involved, the demographic characteristics of the victim, whether the victim was injured, how well the victim knew the suspect, the type and estimated value of property stolen , and whether the incident resulted in an arrest. NIBRS can be used to generate rates of victimization, offending, and arrests for the total population, as well as for demographic subgroups. 

This presentation provided an overview of the NIBRS reporting standard, including the offenses and data elements captured in NIBRS, the strengths and limits of NIBRS, and how to use these data to better understand the levels and nature of crime.

Presenter: Kimberly H. Martin, PhD, Statistician, BJS Law Enforcement Incident-Based Statistics Unit 


Introduction to the National Crime Victimization Survey

The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is a nationally representative household survey of persons age 12 or older in the United States. It was developed as both a compliment to and independent calibration for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The NCVS has been administered annually since 1973 and is a rich data source with nearly 1,000 variables on the nature of and victim response to crime, including nonfatal violent crime, property crime, and personal larceny. The NCVS includes crime both reported and not reported to police and is the only national source of data on crimes not reported to police. NCVS data can be used to examine victim demographic characteristics, crime incident characteristics, and consequences of experiencing criminal victimization. This presentation provides an overview of the crime types and variables covered by the NCVS and how the data can be used to understand crime and victimization. Presenters discuss sample BJS analyses of NCVS data from published reports.

Presenters: Susannah N. Tapp, PhD, and Alexandra Thompson, Statisticians, BJS Victimization Statistics Unit

Date Created: April 24, 2024