May 7, 2013
Originally published in the May 2013 edition of the CJIS Link, Volume 15, Number 1
For the past few years, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program staff and the UCR Redevelopment Project team have been developing the standards by which law enforcement agencies can submit new, more detailed data. Recent initiatives include the collection of human trafficking offenses and arrests, the new bias categories of gender and gender identity, offenses counted in accordance with the revised rape definition, and updated race and ethnicity categories. Together, these data will help UCR become more relevant to current issues and concerns. To report these data as part of their 2013 data submissions, law enforcement agencies—regardless of whether they submit via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) or the traditional Summary Reporting System (SRS)—must adhere to updated technical specifications.
NIBRS Agencies Use Revised Flat File Layouts
One document now supplies NIBRS agencies with everything they need to submit all of the new types of data. The NIBRS Technical Specification provides updated flat file record layouts (including the cargo theft indicator), new offense definitions (for trafficking offenses), and additional data values (for new bias motivation categories and types, as well as updated race and ethnicity categories). This document is available on the FBI’s updated website at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr-program-data-collections.
SRS Agencies Use Excel Workbook or Revised Flat File Layouts
Two options currently exist for SRS agencies to submit new data:
- Microsoft Excel Products (provided by the FBI)—This option is a one-stop shop to submit all of the new data types. With the UCR Summary Excel Workbook and the UCR Summary Excel Tally Book, agencies can electronically record and submit their Summary data. These documents are coming to the FBI’s UCR website soon, but in the meantime, agencies may access them on the Association of State UCR Programs’ website at www.ASUCRP.net.
- Traditional Flat File—Summary Reporting System Technical Specification includes revised offense definitions (for rape), new offense definitions (for human trafficking), and updated data codes (for expanded race and ethnicity categories). In addition, SRS agencies can use the Hate Crime Technical Specification and the Cargo Theft Technical Specification to prepare submissions for those respective initiatives. These documents are available on the FBI’s updated website at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr-program-data-collections.
Keep in Mind
Law enforcement agencies should note that paper forms for the new data are not yet available; forms on the web are not up to date. Therefore, agencies must use one of the formats specified above when submitting new data. Although revised forms will be ready in the months to come, the national UCR Program staff encourages agencies to use electronic submission methods as the program moves toward the July 1, 2013, deadline to discontinue processing paper submissions.
Another electronic submission option that the FBI will begin processing next year when its new system goes live is detailed in FBI UCR Extensible Markup Language (XML) Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD) for Summary and NIBRS, which is currently available at www.ASUCRP.net. The national UCR Program encourages agencies to familiarize themselves with the XML format and to consider adopting it for future submissions.
Agencies with additional questions concerning data submission methods should contact their respective state UCR Program managers or the national UCR Program’s Crime Statistics Management Unit by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (304) 625-4830.