FBI Releases 2014 Crime Statistics from the National Incident-Based Reporting System
Today, the FBI released details on more than 5.4 million criminal offenses reported via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) in 2014. The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s latest report, NIBRS, 2014, provides a diverse range of information about victims, known offenders, and relationships for 23 offense categories composed of 49 offenses. It also presents arrest data for those offense categories, plus 11 more offenses for which only arrest data are collected. NIBRS, 2014 provides agency-level offense data by state; however, there are no estimates for agencies that did not submit NIBRS data to the UCR Program.
Unlike data reported via the Summary Reporting System in Crime in the United States, data in NIBRS, 2014 includes all offenses within an incident, as well as additional aspects about each event such as location, time of day, and clearances. The data-rich nature of NIBRS is the main reason that FBI Director James B. Comey has made across-the-board implementation of NIBRS one of his priority initiatives. In his remarks to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago on October 26, 2015, Director Comey said, “...without information, every single conversation in this country about policing and reform and justice is uninformed, and that is a very bad place to be. So I hope you will join me in getting us all to move to NIBRS.” Comprehensive and accurate data are paramount to sound decision-making in law enforcement and intelligence. Director Comey also commented in a speech given at Georgetown University in February 2015, “The first step to understanding what is really going on in our communities and in our country is to gather more and better data related to those we arrest, those we confront for breaking the law and jeopardizing public safety, and those who confront us. ‘Data’ seems a dry and boring word but, without it, we cannot understand our world and make it better.” Moving all law enforcement agencies to submitting their data via the NIBRS is the first step in gathering more comprehensive data, an important goal of the UCR Program. The information in NIBRS, 2014 is an example of the kind of “better data” about which the Director is speaking.
Making use of these better data, the special report Sex Offenses Reported via NIBRS in 2013 is included in NIBRS, 2014. This monograph is a brief illustration of the kind of granularity that can be achieved on a topic when more and deeper data are collected.
An Overview of NIBRS, 2014
In 2014, 6,520 law enforcement agencies, representing coverage of more than 93 million U.S. inhabitants, submitted NIBRS data. While not yet nationally representative, this coverage represents 35.2 percent of all law enforcement agencies that participate in the UCR Program. A more detailed look at these data is available with the new interactive NIBRS map, which presents statistics for each agency that reported 12 months of NIBRS data in 2014.
NIBRS agencies reported 4,759,438 incidents that involved 5,489,485 offenses, 5,790,423 victims, and 4,414,016 known offenders. In addition, these agencies reported 3,099,779 arrestees. The number of reported arrestees for 2014 is not comparable to previous years’ numbers due to a change in the methodology for calculating this number. The change included adding all persons arrested for Group B offenses to arrestees connected to Group A offenses, which were the only arrestee numbers published in previous years. (The Arrestees page of NIBRS, 2014 provides further detail.)
Of the reported offenses, 63.6 percent involved crimes against property (i.e., those crimes in which the object is attaining property), 23.0 percent involved crimes against persons, (i.e., crimes whose victims are always individuals), and 13.4 percent included crimes against society (i.e., typically “victimless crimes” that represent society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity, such as gambling).
NIBRS victim types, collected for all reported offenses, may be an individual, a business, an institution, or society as a whole. Of the 4,032,600 individual victims reported in 2014, 24.0 percent were between 21 and 30 years of age. A little more than half (51.0 percent) were female, 48.1 percent were male, and sex was unknown for 0.8 percent. The majority (72.0 percent) were white, 21.1 percent were black or African-American, 1.3 percent were Asian, 0.6 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, and less than 0.1 percent were Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. Race was unknown for 5.0 percent of victims.
In 2014, there were 4,414,016 known offenders, meaning that some aspect of the suspect—such as the age, sex, or race—was identified and reported. Of these, nearly a third (32.3 percent) were between 16 and 25 years of age. By gender, the majority (63.9 percent) were male, and 25.6 percent were female; gender was unknown for 10.5 percent. By race, more than half (57.1 percent) of known offenders were white, 27.8 percent were black or African-American, and 1.7 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 13.4 percent of reported known offenders.
Concerning the relationship of victims to known offenders, there were 1,273,602 victims of crimes against persons (e.g., murders, sex offenses, assault offenses) and of robbery offenses from the crimes against property category. Of these victims, 52.7 percent knew their offenders (or at least one offender where more than one was present) but did not have a familial relationship to them. Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) of victims were related to their offenders (or at least one offender where more than one was present).
Law enforcement agencies submitted data through incident reports—and, in 2014, also through arrest reports—for 3,099,779 arrestees in 2014. Of these, 18.8 percent were 21 to 25 years of age. By gender, 71.9 percent were male, and 28.1 percent were female. By race, the majority (71.0 percent) of arrestees were white, 25.0 percent were black or African-American, and 2.4 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 1.5 percent of arrestees.