January 21, 2020
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will transition the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program to collecting crime data solely through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) on January 1, 2021. This will be a major improvement to the nation’s crime statistics.
Why is the FBI trying to get colleges and universities to transition to NIBRS?
It’s crucial for law enforcement agencies to collect accurate crime data, but colleges and universities especially need good data for serving their diverse interests and constituencies. The reasons may include safety concerns, requirements to provide data based on federal or state legislation, or creation of crime prevention programs. The FBI and its law enforcement partners developed NIBRS to provide more detailed crime statistics to benefit all law enforcement agencies, including campus law enforcement. National participation in NIBRS, a vastly superior system of nationwide crime data than SRS, has the potential to benefit all law enforcement agencies.
How can NIBRS particularly help colleges and universities?
Using NIBRS, university researchers and campus law enforcement agencies can research crime trends and evidence-based crime prevention strategies. For example, a university researcher could use NIBRS data to answer the question, “How often is alcohol usage prevalent in acquaintance rapes at universities and colleges?” By using NIBRS data in this way, colleges and universities might be able to strategically address sex crimes by targeting alcohol usage.
To give college law enforcement and other agencies easier access to NIBRS data, the FBI has launched the Crime Data Explorer, an online, interactive data tool that provides data visualizations and downloadable datasets. Also, the CDE has tools for law enforcement agencies to produce their own customized crime reports; and the FBI plans to continue development of more custom features for the CDE in years to come.
Is NIBRS participation compatible with the requirements of the Clery Act?
NIBRS participation is compatible with the overall intent and many of the functions of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (which is commonly referenced as the Clery Act). While the Clery Act does not necessarily require colleges and universities to participate in the UCR Program, it directs these agencies to collect crime data for criminal offenses and hate crimes as defined by the FBI’s UCR Program and specified below:
Using the definitions from the Summary Reporting System User Manual, agencies must collect data for murder; rape; robbery; aggravated assault; burglary; motor vehicle theft; arson; weapon law violations; drug abuse violations; and liquor law violations.
Using definitions from the NIBRS Data Collection Guidelines, agencies must collect data for fondling, incest, and statutory rape.
Agencies must use definitions from the Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines and Training Manual to report hate crimes, particularly larceny-theft (except motor vehicle theft), simple assault, intimidation, and destruction/damage/vandalism of property.