Implemented to improve the overall quality of crime data collected by law enforcement, NIBRS captures details on each single crime incident—as well as on separate offenses within the same incident—including information on victims, known offenders, relationships between victims and offenders, arrestees, and property involved in crimes.
Unlike data reported through the UCR Program’s traditional Summary Reporting System (SRS)—an aggregate monthly tally of crimes—NIBRS goes much deeper because of its ability to provide circumstances and context for crimes like location, time of day, and whether the incident was cleared.
As recommended by professional law enforcement organizations, the FBI has made nationwide implementation of NIBRS a top priority because NIBRS can provide more useful statistics to promote constructive discussion, measured planning, and informed policing. To increase participation, the UCR Program is partnering with the Bureau of Justice Statistics on the National Crime Statistics Exchange, working with advocacy groups to emphasize the importance of NIBRS data, and transitioned the UCR Program to a NIBRS-only data collection, as of Jan. 1, 2021. In addition, the UCR Program has made resources available to help agencies address the cost of transitioning, as well as the potential perception that an agency has higher crime levels when NIBRS actually establishes a new baseline that more precisely captures reported crime in a community.
As recommended by our law enforcement partners and approved by the FBI, the UCR Program retired the SRS and transitioned to a NIBRS-only data collection on January 1, 2021. Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to start implementing NIBRS now. The FBI remains committed to assisting all agencies in making the switch.
When used to its full potential, NIBRS identifies, with precision, when and where crime takes place, what form it takes, and the characteristics of its victims and perpetrators. Armed with such information, law enforcement can better define the resources it needs to fight crime, as well as use those resources in the most efficient and effective manner. NIBRS:
- Provides greater specificity in reporting offenses. Not only does NIBRS look at all of the offenses within an incident, but it also looks at many more offenses than the traditional SRS does. NIBRS collects data for 52 offenses, plus 10 additional offenses for which only arrests are reported. SRS counts limited data for 10 offenses and 20 additional crimes for which only arrests are reported.
- Collects more detailed information, including incident date and time, whether reported offenses were attempted or completed, expanded victim types, relationships of victims to offenders and offenses, demographic details, location data, property descriptions, drug types and quantities, the offender’s suspected use of drugs or alcohol, the involvement of gang activity, and whether a computer was used in the commission of the crime.
- Helps give context to specific crime problems such as drug/narcotics and sex offenses, as well as issues like animal cruelty, identity theft, and computer hacking.
- Provides greater analytic flexibility. Through NIBRS, data users can see many more facets of crime, as well as relationships and connections among these facets, than SRS provides.
Learn more about the benefits of NIBRS participation.
Is your agency ready to transition to NIBRS? Here’s how to get there:
- Procure NIBRS software/hardware
- Determine if FBI or state-specific tech specs will be used
- Map state statutes to NIBRS offense codes
- Establish a records management system (RMS) capable of capturing NIBRS
- Implement NIBRS RMS
- Pretest data against NIBRS validation rules
- Attain NIBRS certification
- Message NIBRS success
Helpful resources for all law enforcement agencies as they make the switch to or become familiar with NIBRS:
When the annual Crime in the United States data is released this fall, it will look different from previous releases.
Next year, the National Incident-Based Reporting System will become the national crime data collection program. The result will be more robust and complete data for law enforcement, researchers, and the public.
The latest FBI report provides detailed data on nearly 6.6 million crimes committed during 2018.