Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $150,556)
The State Justice Statistics (SJS) Program is designed to maintain and enhance each state's capacity to address criminal justice issues through collection and analysis of data. The SJS Program provides support to each state to coordinate and conduct statistical activities within the state, conduct research to estimate impacts of legislative and policy changes, and serve as a liaison in assisting BJS to gather data from respondent agencies within their states.
The Virginia SAC provides research and data to the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The DCJS houses the SAC as well as serves as the State Administering Agency (SAA). Under the FY 2018 SJS award, the SAC will conduct one core capacity project (Analyze NIBRS Data) and one special emphasis project (Analyze Criminal History Records (CHR)).
The core capacity project will contain 3 sub-projects to 1) produce detailed reports examining the extent and nature of school and college/university criminal incident in VA; 2) use NIBRS data to examine the use of firearms in domestic violence incidents; and 3) use NIBRS data to examining the reporting of misdemeanor and felony offenses. 1) NIBRS-Based Examination of Incidents at Schools and Colleges: In addition to housing the SAC, VAs SAA houses the VA Center for School and Campus Safety (VCSCS). The VCSCS collects and disseminates school and campus safety materials and administers state and federal grant funding for school and campus safety initiatives. The SAC will produce detailed reports examining the extent and nature of school and college criminal incidents in VA. In addition, the SAC will conduct a review of the quality and completeness of NIBRS variables in these school incidents, including issues with reporting incidents and differences in reporting from K-12 schools and college/universities. 2) Examine the use of Firearms in Domestic Violence Incidents: The SAC will use NIBRS data to examine domestic incidents involving firearms and determine if new state laws are associated with a reduction in these incidents. In 2016, VA passed legislation prohibiting persons subject to a civil, family abuse final protective order from possessing firearms which is primarily intended to reduce domestic incidents in which a person is threatened, harmed or killed by another with a firearm. The NIBRS data elements will allow for identification of domestic incidents, the type of offense, the type of weapon involved, as well as other characteristics of the incident. 3) Examine Reporting of Misdemeanor and Felony Offenses to NIBRS: The SAC will use NIBRS data to assess the potential effects misdemeanor and felony crimes have had as a result of
raising the felony-theft threshold. The felony-theft threshold was recently raised from $200 to $500. The assessment will provide insight to the following: 1) did the incidence of felony-theft offenses reported change after the threshold was raised?; 2) was the threshold change associated with any change in the dollar amount taken in property crimes reported in NIBRS?; and 3) what specific location types (retail and non-retail sites) were impacted?
The special emphasis project is a 2-year project to develop a capacity to obtain and analyze electronic CHR data from the VSP. The 1st year of the project will be to establish, test and refine the SACs ability to securely receive and maintain these records, do the necessary data quality and completeness checks to determine their utility for research, and structure the records in the database format that is suitable for research purposes. The 2nd year of the project will have the SAC use the records to conduct targeted analyses to examine offender recidivism and better characterize criminal offending patterns, and assess whether CHR data can be matched to data in other criminal justice databases, especially VAs NIBRS data.