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National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)


Beginning in January, 2021, the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) became the national standard for law enforcement crime data reporting in the United States. The transition to NIBRS represented a significant improvement in how reported crime is measured and estimated by the federal government.

NIBRS captures detailed data about the characteristics of criminal incidents, including:

  • a broad array of offenses
  • types and amount of property lost
  • demographic information about victims, offenders, and persons arrested
  • what type of weapon, if any, was used in the incident.

NIBRS data more accurately reflect the types of crime addressed by police agencies, like simple assault, animal cruelty, destruction of property, intimidation, and identity theft. The broad scope of information collected in NIBRS serves to greatly improve the nation’s understanding of crime and public safety.

NIBRS - Key Benefits and Fast Facts

Measuring Crime Reported to Law Enforcement using NIBRS Data

The 2021 data year marked the first time that the FBI and BJS estimated reported crime in the United States based on NIBRS data. The annual NIBRS-based crime estimates are derived from data submitted by states and local law enforcement agencies certified to report data to the FBI.

As of May 2024

  • all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia are certified to report crime data to NIBRS
  • 82% of the U.S. population is covered by NIBRS-reporting law enforcement agencies
  • 125 of the 154 police agencies serving cities and counties with a population of 250,000 or more are reporting to NIBRS, covering a total population of more than 76.7 million persons.

The map below depicts the percentage of the population covered by NIBRS-reporting agencies as of May 2024, by state.


NIBRS - Agency Coverage


In late 2012, BJS funded the National Crime Statistics Exchange (NCS-X) Initiative to study the feasibility of producing national estimates of reported crime that included offense details and characteristics. NIBRS captured the crime elements needed to make those estimates, but the collection was not national in scope. Initial efforts showed that NIBRS data could be used to generate national estimates of reported crime using a sample-based strategy for expanding the number of reporting agencies. 

 BJS and the FBI partnered to implement NCS-X with the goals to—

  • expand the number of law enforcement agencies contributing crime data to NIBRS and
  • develop the statistical methodology to describe the details and context of crime across the United States.

This partnership leveraged the FBI’s existing NIBRS program infrastructure, allowing BJS and the FBI to recruit agencies for NIBRS participation, including all the nation’s largest jurisdictions not yet reporting to NIBRS.

See the National Crime Statistics Exchange (NCS-X) program page for more information.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) developed the Law Enforcement Agency Reported Crime Analysis Tool (LEARCAT) to provide access to incident-based data on crimes recorded by law enforcement. LEARCAT uses data from the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), as well as contextual information from other federal data sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau.  

LEARCAT enables users to— 

  • examine NIBRS data at multiple levels of geography, including state, county, and agency levels 
  • produce custom views of the NIBRS data that provide information on various attributes of crime
  • produce custom datasets for analysis 
  • generate univariate statistics and perform basic cross-tabulation analyses, among other functions.

LEARCAT includes NIBRS data from 2016 to 2022. BJS will enhance or expand data within the tool, based on the availability of data and resources. 


NIBRS Multimedia


Listen as Erica Smith (BJS) and Edward Abraham (FBI) discuss the significant improvements the transition to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) offers in this Justice Today podcast.  



Date Created: August 2, 2022