Information about crime comes from two primary sources: survey responses from victims about crimes they experienced and administrative data from law enforcement agencies about crimes reported to them. Victim survey responses capture information on crimes reported to the police, as well as those crimes that were not reported. Crime data from law enforcement agencies reflect those crimes reported to and recorded by police.
The Nation's Two Crime Measures
Department of Justice agencies collect both survey and administrative data on crime.
- BJS's National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) captures incident-level data on reported and unreported crime from the victim's perspective
- FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program Summary Reporting System (SRS) collects summary-based counts of crime reported by law enforcement
Similar to many other indicators used to assess conditions in the United States, these two indicators of crime complement each other to produce a more comprehensive portrait of the nation's crime problem.
Some of the differences between SRS and NCVS are—
|Summary Reporting System||National Crime Victimization Survey|
National and state estimates, local agency reports
Data can be aggregated to county-level and federal judicial district
|Collection method||Reports by law enforcement to the FBI on a monthly basis||Survey data obtained from a nationally representative sample of about 240,000 interviews, which involves 160,000 unique persons in about 95,000 households.|
|Measures||Aggregate counts of 10 offense types reported by law enforcement||Reported and unreported crime; details about the crimes, victims, and offenders|
For more information about the UCR and the NCVS, see The Nation's Two Crime Measures.
On January 1, 2021, the SRS was retired, and the FBI UCR Program transitioned to incident-based submissions of reported crime data to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). For more information on the transition to NIBRS, see the National Crime Statistics Exchange (NCS-X) program page.
The most recent information we have available on identity theft can be found within the Victims of Identity Theft series.
Reports on violence in the workplace offer the latest information on nonfatal and fatal forms of violence against private-sector and government employees that occur where they are working or on duty.
NIBRS stands for National Incident-Based Reporting System. Unlike the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, which only collects data on the most serious offense that occurs during a criminal incident, NIBRS collects data on each reported offense occurring during criminal incident. You can learn more about NIBRS in the NIBRS Edition of the FBI's CJIS newsletter.
Terms & Definitions
An unlawful physical attack or threat of attack. Assaults may be classified as aggravated or simple. Rape, attempted rape, and sexual assaults are excluded from this category, as well as robbery and attempted robbery. The severity of assaults ranges from minor threats to nearly fatal incidents.
A crime as it affects one individual person or household. For personal crimes, the number of victimizations is equal to the number of victims involved. The number of victimizations may be greater than the number of incidents because more than one person may be victimized during an incident. Each crime against a household is assumed to involve a single victim, the affected household.