Good Uniform Crime Reports Research Paper Example
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In preparing reports for compilation in the UCR system, individual agencies conduct two important processes – classifying and scoring. Classifying entails determining as to how crimes are to be categorized and reported to the UCR. Scoring, on the other hand, comes after classifying and involves counting the number of offenses and totaling them. Classification and scoring are based on the reports received by individual law enforcement agencies in cities, counties, states, and tribal groups that are voluntarily participating in the UCR Program. The offenses subject to reporting are limited and are classified as Part I and Part II offenses. Under Part I, are the following offenses: criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. Part II offenses include the following: other assaults, forgery and counterfeiting, fraud, embezzlement, stolen property: buying, receiving, possessing, vandalism, weapons: carrying, possessing, etc., prostitution and commercialized vice, sex offenses, drug abuse violations, gambling, offenses against the family and children, driving under the influence, liquor laws, drunkenness, disorderly conduct, vagrancy, all other offenses, suspicion, curfew and loitering laws—(persons under 18), and runaways—(persons under 18) (FBI 2004).
In the event, simultaneous offenses, called a multiple-offense event, are being committed by the same person or persons, the participating law enforcement agency must follow the Hierarchy Rule. The Hierarchy Rule pertains to the laddering of importance of Part I offenses where criminal homicide is the highest and arson the lowest. In a multiple-offense event involving more than one Part I offense, the law enforcement agency involved must score only the offense that is the highest in the hierarchy. For example, if homicide and robbery are committed at the same time in the same place and by the same suspects, only criminal homicide must be given a score. The exceptions to the Hierarchy Rule are justifiable homicide, motor vehicle theft, and arson (FBI 2004).
The main weakness of the UCR is that it is entirely dependent on the reports of voluntary law enforcement agencies and may not tell the complete picture of criminality in the country. Many crimes go unreported, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Between 2006 and 2010, for example, about 3.4 of violent crimes in the US were not reported (BJS 2012).
A. State Data: New York (Murder and Non-negligent Manslaughter, 2013)
A look into the state data for New York for the crime of murder and non-negligent manslaughter as shown in Table 8, reveals the number of such offenses for every city of the state By manually adding those offenses together, reveals a total rate of 545 reported incidences of murder and non-negligent manslaughter for the year 2013.
B. National Data: Murder and Non-negligent Manslaughter, 2013
The national data for murder and non-negligent manslaughter for 2013 revealed a total of 14,196 counts of reported incidences or a rate 4.5 for every 100,000 population. The highest incidences of this crime was committed in the metropolitan statistical area at 4.7 for every 100,000 population, followed by cities outside metropolitan areas at 3.7 for every 100,000 population, and lastly, the nonmetropolitan counties at 3.4 per 100,000 population (FBI 2014)
C. Role of the UCR in Assisting Public Safety Officials
The UCR data, together with other data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), can be useful to public safety in many ways. It can help them formulate more responsive and more effective policies to curb and eliminate crimes by focusing necessary and appropriate resources in problem areas, by adopting the correct approach to solving crimes and persuading the public to support public safety measures. Correctly predicting crime rates can further assist them in taking pro-active approach to crime solving even before such crimes actually occur, in effect, preventing their occurrence.
D. Predictions: National, State, and Selected City
Statistical graphs showing the historical rates of murder and non-negligent homicide in the US depict a downward trend in rates in the national level. From 1990 to 1993, for example, the rate fluctuated between 9.4 and 9.5, but since 1993, the rate began to decline until it 5.5 in 2000. It went up to 5.8 in 2006, but continued to steadily decline since then and in 2013, it went down to 4.5 (Statista 2014). It is fair to say on the basis of the historical trend that the rate either continues to go down or maintain, but even if it rises the increase will not be significant.
E. Comparison 1950 and 2013
In 1950, there were 7,942 deaths attributed to homicide or a rate of 4.5 for every 100,000 population, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (Langberg 1967). Surprisingly, the homicide rates in 1950 and 2013 are the same, although the population then was smaller accounting for the larger raw data of 14,196 in 2013, which almost doubled the 1950 figure.
F. Predictions, Utility, Reliability
Among the various crime statistics surveys in the US, the UCR is the best and the least inaccurate is the UCR (Haley and Bohm 2014). This is because the data is collected by law enforcement agencies as reported to them. This does not mean, however, that it suffers no flaws. As earlier a significant number of crimes are unreported. In addition, participation in the UCR Program is merely voluntary and not compulsory, which means any law enforcement agency in the country can choose not to file its report to the Program. For purposes, however, of crime forecasting and public safety policies formulation, data from the UCR can be of use to various agencies and entities.
BJS (2012). Nearly 3.4 Million Violent Crimes Per Year Went Unreported To Police From 2006 To 2010. Bureau of Justice Statistics. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/vnrp0610pr.cfm
FBI (2004). Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook. Federal Bureau of Investigation. www2.fbi.gov/ucr/handbook/ucrhandbook04.pdf
Langberg, R. (1967). Homicide in the United States, 1950-1964. National Statistics for Health Population, US Department of Health, Education and Welfare. http://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/12871
Statista (2014). Reported murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate in the United States from 1990 to 2013. http://www.statista.com/statistics/191223/reported-murder-and- nonnegligent-manslaughter-rate-in-the-us-since-1990/
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