Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $73,911)
The Delaware SAC requests funds for Core Capacity area (A) Research using incident-based crime data that are compatible with NIBRS. This will be a 12-month project. Focus will be placed on expanding the work done in the 2020 grant working with NIBRS victim-offender relationship (VOR) data. To develop further NIBRS capacity and to respond to the needs of the state, the Delaware SAC will conduct a two-phase research project focusing on quality considerations around NIBRS VOR data. Phase 1 will be an overall analysis of VOR data to assess quality and completeness. In this phase the SAC will conduct a deeper inspection and assessment of VOR data in preparation for more detailed analytic work. This will include: 1) a frequency analysis of VOR data codes by violent offense; 2) identifying any incorrect uses of VOR due to the selection of an inappropriate victim type (e.g., VOR indicating society as the victim of an assault); 3) cross tabulation analysis to identify inconsistencies in VOR reporting by agency and offense type that are suggestive of variations in agency practices or drift from assignment criteria; 4) a frequency analysis of the VOR data for offenses flagged in the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) as “domestic violence” to understand the range of categories assigned and to identify potential problems (e.g., codes misassigned or codes assigned as proxies for ones that do not exist but would better describe the relationship) for further case review inquiry; 5) a review of “victim was offender” (VO) code use due to the strict assignment guidelines for this category, the implication that it should apply to more than one victim in an incident, and its common association with domestic violence incidents; and, 6) establish future research questions or hypotheses based on the assessment of VOR data quality.
In Phase 2, the SAC will focus on research and analysis that builds on the work conducted during Phase 1. In this phase the Center will develop a research plan appropriate for the Phase 1 data quality findings and the SAC resources available. Topics may include: 1) triangulating VOR data, NIBRS crime codes or Delaware crime statutes, and the domestic violence flag within CJIS to determine if patterns between the first two sets of data elements can effectively identify domestic violence cases that may not have been flagged; 2) examining clearance types and rates by VOR for patterns and trends; 3) for VOR codes that imply age relationships between the victim and offender (e.g., PA or CH), collating with victim and offender age data to determine the extent to which such codes have been accurately applied; and, 4) sampling incidents where VOR was “otherwise known” and reviewing accompanying complaint reports to determine if there is need for additional relationship types or if there are possible reporting agency classification issues. The end product will be a quality assessment of the NIBRS Victim-Offender Relationship (VOR) data to determine the reliability and viability of incident-based data.