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Demonstrating the Operational Utility of Incident-Based Data for Local Crime Analysis: Reporting Systems in Tacoma, Washington, and New Bedford, Massachusetts

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1994
The results of using the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for robbery offenses in Tacoma, Washington, and for drug offenses in New Bedford, Massachusetts, are presented.

The NIBRS captures more comprehensive data than the aggregate-based Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system. While the UCR system provides raw data on incidents and arrests, the NIBRS provides details about offenses, victims, offenders, and the environment in which they interact. The NIBRS will ultimately replace the UCR system as the source of official Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics on crimes reported to law enforcement agencies. Police departments in Tacoma and New Bedford provided automated, incident-based data to the NIBRS as part of site analysis. Both departments were interested in technological developments that would enable their crime analysis units to exploit crime data more fully. Tacoma was interested in robberies, while New Bedford was interested in drug offenses. Data on 2,019 robberies in Tacoma were available for the period between January 1, 1989 and October 31, 1990. Data on 1,326 drug-related calls to New Bedford police were available for the period between January 2, 1990 and September 30, 1990. The utility of incident-based data for crime analysis was demonstrated using data from both Tacoma and New Bedford. At each site, sophisticated analysis was conducted and findings directly relevant to police department administration were produced. The analysis concluded that an apparent increase in robberies in Tacoma was probably due to random fluctuations and identified hot spots of drug activity in New Bedford. Detailed data on the NIBRS are tabulated, and the findings of a national survey of crime analysis techniques are presented. Software used by police crime analysis units is listed in an appendix. 63 footnotes, 17 tables, and 9 figures

Date Published: June 1, 1994