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IRE & NICAR to freely publish unprocessed data

Charles Minshew, IRE Director of Data Services

 Inspired by our members, IRE is pleased to announce the first release of raw, unprocessed data from the NICAR Database Library.

The contents of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) master file for 2015 are now available for free download on our website. The package contains the original fixed-width files, data dictionaries for the tables as well as the FBI’s UCR user guide. We are planning subsequent releases of other raw data that is not readily available online.

Last week, Buzzfeed released 40 years worth of federal salary data to the public that it received via the Freedom of Information Act. Their work inspired us to do the same with data held by the NICAR Database Library. The UCR data we’re releasing today is only available via public records request.

The yearly data from the FBI details arrest and offense numbers for police agencies across the United States. If you download this unprocessed data, expect to do some work to get it in a useable format. The data is fixed-width, across multiple tables, contains many records on a single row that need to be unpacked and in some cases decoded, before being cleaned and imported for use in programs like Excel or your favorite database manager. Not up to the task? We do all of this work in the version of the data that we will soon have for sale in the Database Library.

The NICAR Database Library at IRE maintains a number of federal datasets and houses decades worth of data from dozens of federal agencies. We also conduct custom data cleaning and analysis for newsrooms around the world. For information or a quote, email us at or call us at (573) 884-7711.


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