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NCJ Number: NCJ 165581     Find in a Library
Title: Implementing the National Incident-Based Reporting System: A Project Status Report
  Document URL: Text PDF 
  Agency Summary: Agency Summary 
Author(s): D J Roberts
Corporate Author: SEARCH - National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics
United States of America
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 22
  Annotation: This report presents findings regarding the impediments to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) implementation in major law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation and proposes recommendations designed to address the challenges faced by agencies in their move to implement incident- based reporting.
Abstract: Data collection strategies included surveys of State Uniform Crime Reports/NIBRS agencies, developers of NIBRS compatible software applications, and larger law enforcement agencies. In addition, regional focus group meetings were organized to bring together local, State, and Federal agency practitioners and subject-matter experts for discussions regarding the nature of impediments and recommendations. The report notes that from the perspective of the local contributor, a fundamental principle that underlies the logic of the NIBRS system is that NIBRS is a statistical derivative of operational law enforcement recordkeeping systems. NIBRS captures data in an incident-based format, which mirrors the conceptual structure of law enforcement activities and recordkeeping programs. Moreover, it is designed to capture data that are essential to the crime reporting and investigative processes of local police and sheriff's departments. This report concludes that the NIBRS program itself, however, and the many State implementations of NIBRS, enforce a reporting structure and data element coding scheme that exceed the ability of the legacy records systems currently in place in many of the larger law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation. Many local law enforcement agencies have records management systems that are incapable of reporting NIBRS data because the data are in an incompatible format. Some of these local agencies have antiquated, fragmented records systems urgently in need of upgrade or replacement to meet the department's needs. In all likelihood, NIBRS implementation in these agencies will occur only in the context of a comprehensive systems upgrade, in which NIBRS reporting requirements can be built into the agency's functional requirements definition. The agency must also address forms redesign and training issues, but the basic information system will enable NIBRS reporting. In contrast, other agencies currently have automated, incident-based systems that effectively meet their operational needs but fail to capture the necessary data in an appropriate format for NIBRS reporting. In these agencies, NIBRS represents changing their recordkeeping systems to generate statistical data for use at State and Federal levels, without any perceived benefit at the local level. If NIBRS is to be implemented broadly, its purpose must be relevant to the operational records management systems of the local law enforcement agencies responsible for contributing the data, and it must show utility in State and Federal analyses of the data. In addition, it must not be an undue burden on the law enforcement officers who capture the data at the street level. Recommendations of the NIBRS Project Steering Committee address the development of standard analytic methodologies; data elements, software, and data input strategies; communication, benefits, coordination, and developing momentum; technical assistance to local agencies in records management system upgrades and NIBRS implementation; and funding.
Main Term(s): Police statistics
Index Term(s): Data collection devices ; Criminal justice information systems ; National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS)
Sponsoring Agency: Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
US Dept of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Grant Number: 95-BJ-CX-K021
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Country: United States of America
Language: English
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