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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51975 Find in a Library
Title: UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS - SOME CONSIDERATIONS ON THEIR SHORTCOMINGS AND UTILITY
Journal: PUBLIC DATA USE  Volume:6  Issue:6  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1978)  Pages:3-16
Author(s): J A INCIARDI
Corporate Author: Data Use and Access Laboratories
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Data Use and Access Laboratories
Arlington, VA 22209
Institute for Scientific Information
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Sale Source: Institute for Scientific Information
University City Science Ctr
3501 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE HISTORY AND CONTENT OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION'S UNIFORM CRIME REPORT (UCR) ARE EXAMINED, ALONG WITH THE REPORT'S SHORTCOMINGS AND THE RELIABILITY OF ITS ESTIMATES.
Abstract: THE UCR IS THE ONLY DATA SOURCE ON THE MAGNITUDE AND TRENDS OF CRIME IN THE U.S., YET IT IS INCOMPLETE, STRUCTURALLY BIASED, AND HAS BEEN MISUSED AND MISINTERPRETED. ALTHOUGH SINCE 1958 THE UCR HAS PRESENTED A NATIONWIDE ANNUAL VIEW OF CRIME BASED ON STATISTICS SUBMITTED BY CITY, COUNTY, AND STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, IT FALLS CONSIDERABLY SHORT IN REPORTING THE FULL EXTENT OF CRIME IN THE U.S. FURTHERMORE, IT IS APPARENT THAT THE UCR IS INAPPROPRIATE AS AN INDEX FOR COMPARING CRIME LEVELS AND RATES IN VARIOUS CITIES, STATES, AND REGIONS. HOWEVER, THESE STATISTICAL COMPILATIONS DO HAVE THEIR APPLICATIONS, PRIMARILY IN THE AREAS OF CRIME TREND ANALYSIS. BY EXAMINING UCR FIGURES WITHIN THE PERSPECTIVE OF RATES AND PROPORTIONS, AS OPPOSED TO ABSOLUTE NUMBERS, A DEGREE OF BIAS IS ELIMINATED. SUCH A CONSTRUCTION CAN OFFER MUCH IN TERMS OF THE OVERALL GROWTH, DECLINE, OR PERSISTENCE OF PARTICULAR OFFENSE BEHAVIOR AND IT CAN REPRESENT A MECHANISM FOR DETERMINING THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE PHENOMENON MAY BE BROUGHT UNDER THE CONTROL OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE MACHINERY. IT CAN ALSO SUGGEST THE PARAMETERS OF THE POPULATION COHORT MOST RESPONSIBLE FOR A PARTICULAR FORM OF CRIMINALITY AND IT CAN PROVIDE INDICATORS AS TO THE CHANGING SOCIAL AND/OR ECONOMIC SEVERITY OF A GIVEN OFFENSE. FINALLY, THE STABILITY OF THE ARREST AND CLEARANCE TRENDS OF THE UCR CAN BE USED FOR FORECASTING MORE APPROPRIATE DIRECTIONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT MACHINERY. SINCE THE RELATIVE AMOUNTS OF GIVEN CRIMES CAN BE PROJECTED TO SOME DEGREE, THE NEEDS FOR MORE COMPREHENSIVE OR INTENSIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT PROGRAMMING CAN BE MORE READILY ASSESSED. THE MOST EFFECTIVE USE OF THESE ANALYTICAL PERSPECTIVES WOULD OCCUR AT THE LOCAL LEVEL. BY COMBINING EXISTING UCR DATA WITH STATISTICAL COMPILATIONS AVAILABLE FROM LOCAL, COUNTY, AND STATE CRIMINAL JUSTICE AGENCIES, PLANNERS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND OBSERVERS WILL BE ABLE TO OBTAIN THE SPECIFIC INFORMATION NECESSARY FOR CONSTRUCTING COMMUNITY CRIME TRENDS. TABULAR DATA, NOTES, AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (KBL)
Index Term(s): Critiques; Data collections; Effectiveness; FBI Uniform Crime Reports; National crime statistics
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51975

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