NIBRS Data on Juvenile Victims
NIBRS is designed to become the national statistical database on crimes coming to the attention of law enforcement agencies. It collects more detailed information about individual crimes, victims, perpetrators, and crime characteristics than is available from the Uniform Crime Reporting program, the system it is intended to replace.
Because NIBRS data include the age of juvenile victims (to the nearest year in most cases), victim age is one of the important new variables that NIBRS makes available for the profiling of crime. NIBRS also provides detailed information on other victim characteristics, crime type, and victimization circumstances. Data are collected on numerous categories of crime, including homicide, assault, kidnaping, robbery, and sexual assault, and on specific offenses within each category. For example, assault can involve aggravated assault, simple assault, or intimidation, while sexual assault encompasses forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling. NIBRS also collects information on nonviolent crimes that can be linked to individual victims, including theft and vandalism, and nonforcible sex offenses such as statutory rape and nonforcible incest. Although homicide is the most serious violent crime and NIBRS collects data about homicide, it is not analyzed here. Other more complete and detailed national data sets on this crime are available and have been analyzed elsewhere (Finkelhor, 1997; Finkelhor and Ormrod, in press).
In addition to information about the victim and type of offense, NIBRS reports a wealth of details about the circumstances of an incident. Among other particulars, incident time and location are recorded, facts about perpetrators are listed, use of weapons and weapon types are noted, and stolen property is cataloged. Thus, NIBRS provides information for a fuller description of juvenile victimizations coming to the attention of the police, both in terms of victim characteristics and incident attributes, than was previously available in the UCR.1
1 Victims or offenders involved in multiple incidents in a given year will appear in the NIBRS database more than once, counted as separate victims and offenders. Thus, NIBRS data may overrepresent characteristics of victims and offenders who appear more frequently.