Crime in America.Net
Dear Readers: Below you will find what may be one of the best tools available to look at and manipulate-analyze crime data in the United States, individual states or for groups of states.
You can look at rape in the United States since 1960 by rate or total or you could compare violent crimes in your state for whatever time period you choose or you could look at a four state area and compare rates and crime totals. See http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/State/StateCrime.cfm.
The tool is very simple to use; it’s simply a matter of choosing the variables you want to look at and click on the “get table” box.
You can track national and or state crime rates and totals for close to 50 years. You can easily and graphically see how crime in your state (or several states) has increased or decreased and compare findings to the national average and adjacent states.
Just note that the warnings in http://crimeinamerica.net/city-crime-rates-top-ten-cities/ apply to states almost as much as they do to cities. It’s really difficult to compare jurisdictions for all the reasons mentioned in the link.
For an explanation of crimes reported to police (the data used for the attached report) see http://crimeinamerica.net/crime-rates-united-states/.
New Online Tool Makes Research Easier
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, which collects and publishes crime statistics, has developed an online database tool to make it easier to search for crime data going back to 1960.
The publisher of the annual Crime in the United States report today rolled out the UCR Data Tool, which lets users perform queries on custom variables like year, agency, and type of offense. Until now, making comparisons of our crime data required searching the annual reports and then manually crunching the numbers. The new tool aims to make it easier for users—including our law enforcement partners who supply the data—to make use of the raw numbers.
“It’s a flexible, user-friendly way for our contributors and users to access the FBI’s UCR crime data,” said Robert Casey, chief of the Law Enforcement Support Section in our Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division, which manages the UCR program.
The FBI has administered the UCR program since 1930, when law enforcement organizations in 400 cities in 43 states (representing 20 million people) started sending us data on crimes classified as Part I offenses—murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Since then, the program has expanded along with the population and the number of police departments serving them. Today, the population represented by law enforcement agencies participating in the UCR program is more than 295 million people, or 96 percent of the U.S. Participation in the program is voluntary and varies from year to year.
The online database contains crime offense statistics from 1985 to 2009 (the most recent reporting year) for city law enforcement agencies with populations of 10,000 and over, and for county agencies with populations of 25,000 and over. Estimated crime counts from 1960 to 2009 for national and state-level data are also included in the UCR Data Tool. (Because not all law enforcement agencies provide data, the FBI estimates some crime counts.) Figures for arson, which was added to the UCR program as a Part I offense in 1979, are not included in the database.
The tool makes it easier to look at longitudinal data—data over a period of time. Users can export results in a universal format for easy display on spreadsheets or graphics programs.
“We’re working hard to modernize and revitalize UCR,” Casey said. “The Data Tool is one step toward that goal.”
The UCR program publishes a number of statistical reports each year. The most recent annual Crime in the United States report was released in September; next month we’ll post preliminary statistics for the first six months of 2010. Other annual UCR reports include Hate Crime Statistics and Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted. The dual aims of the reports are to provide information to the public, and to provide data-driven insight that might help law enforcement agencies tailor their programs and training and allocate resources.
The rollout of the Data Tool is part of a larger FBI effort to improve customer service and streamline the UCR database, which could result in shorter turnaround times for publications. More information about methodology and best practices for using the tool are available at www.ucrdatatool.gov.