A uniform crime report is used by law enforcement agencies to acquire data and statistics on crimes committed all over the country. It started in 1929 wherein “Part I offenses or Crime Index offenses were collated from different local and state law enforcement agencies. ” This piece of information is very beneficial because it contains essential data like the physical and mental characteristics of the victims and the offenders.
Also, it provides an estimate on the frequency and nature of crimes committed in a year. Through this, law enforcement agencies can draft more effective policies that can intensify the assurance of the safety and welfare of the public (Regoli, 2009, pp. 63-64). However, since the uniform crime report is voluntary, not all crimes are reported. Because of this the “incidence and prevalence of crimes” cannot be accurately projected.
Also, there is a prevailing hierarchy rule in the uniform crime report wherein only the more serious crime is reported which can form discrepancies when comparing statistics with other states or countries. The precision of the report can be further compromised when law enforcement officers choose not report a crime in exchange for advancing one’s interest (Regoli, 2009, pp. 63-64). Given these weaknesses of the uniform crime report, law enforcement officials are exerting effort to improve the “reliability and validity” of the report.
One of the changes implemented was the formation of the National Incident-Based Reporting System wherein important information are critically collected such as the nature of the incident, personal data about the victim and the personality of the suspect. Through this, a “comprehensive crime date” can be made available to all law enforcement agencies which can positively affect their policies and procedures (Regoli, 2009, pp. 63-64).
Regoli, R. M. (2009). Exploring Criminal Justice. Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Publishing