FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) is one of the best tools for tracking crime trends in communities nationwide; FBI UCR data for 2014 is now available from the NICAR data library.
Law enforcement agencies around the country voluntarily submit reports to the FBI on what are known as “index” crimes: Murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor-vehicle theft and arson. These crimes are meant to serve as an index for gauging fluctuations in both the overall volume and rate of crime. The data include the number of crimes by agency and by month. Geographic information include region, state, county, city, and metropolitan statistical area (MSA).
UCR data can help you track different crimes in your community, as well as crime rates over time. Peruse IRE tipsheets for help:
- How to Investigate Police Crime Reporting and Statistics: a cookbook
- Telling Readers What They Want to Know About Crime
- The IRE Resource Center also sells the handy guide Understanding Crime Statistics by Kurt Silver and Ted Gest (also available as an e-book). Call 573-882-3364 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.