Some police departments stop reporting crime data to the FBI

Across the country, murders have skyrocketed since the pandemic began.

Newsy discovered that thousands of US police departments have stopped reporting criminal incidents to the nation’s premier criminal database: The Uniform Crime Report. This hampers efforts to figure out why murders are on the rise.

“It will hinder the development of effective policies to reduce violence,” says Josh Sugarmann.

Sugarmann directs the Violence Policy Center and depends on the FBI’s normally very comprehensive crime data to make policy suggestions aimed at reducing gun violence.

But he says that with so many police agencies giving up, it will be a blow to reports that compare things like violence against women from state to state.

“This information isn’t just mindless data gathering dust on a researcher’s shelf. It has real-world implications,” Sugarmann says. “It reveals the types of weapons used in homicide, victimization, and victimization of black people and tells us, ‘What is the relationship between victim and perpetrator? Where do these attacks occur? How old are those who are victims? “”

In the fall of 2020, the FBI told Newsy that it would get tough with a deadline and stop collecting information on all crimes committed after January 1, 2021, for any of many local agencies – such as the NYPD, which had not made the transition to its new online crime reporting system, called NIBRS.

At the time, the bureau predicted a 75% turnout of police departments nationwide by the end of 2021.

But this week, the FBI admitted to Newsy that the turnout was only 62.6%, well below expectations. And just look at the resulting loss of data: nearly 16,000 agencies in the United States (15,897) reported crimes to the FBI in 2020.

Updated numbers the FBI shared with Newsy on Thursday show just 11,920 police departments left for 2021.

That’s nearly 4,000 police departments giving up.

“It was simply a mistake on the part of the FBI to require local agencies to abandon this system they had been using for decades,” said Dr. Rick Rosenfeld.

Rosenfeld is the past president of the American Society of Criminology. He says the loss of so much information about crime in the United States is particularly troublesome for 2021.

“We’re talking about a year in which there’s widespread concern and pretty strong evidence that homicide rates specifically, but also gun violence rates more generally, have gone up,” Rosenfeld said.

The FBI blamed the lower-than-expected participation in NIBRS on “technological challenges and the loss of agency personnel needed to complete the transition”.

The office says it made a “no charge” NIBRS reporting solution available to local agencies last April. But so far, too few have registered.

“This is an information crisis of the FBI’s own creation. They set their own timelines. They put in place their own approach. And now, seven years later, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s not daylight. It’s a train coming the other way directly towards us,” Sugarmann said.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics tells Newsy that some local agencies that continue not to join the NIBRS could be denied access to certain federal funding.

“Some federal grant programs rely on crime data reported to the FBI’s UCR program as the basis for funding eligibility. The DOJ and its components will follow applicable law and regulations when determining eligibility for grants based on UCR crime data, which includes the NIBRS,” Tannyr Watkins said. , spokesperson for the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Newsy is the only free 24/7 national news network. You can find Newsy using your TV’s digital antenna or streaming for free. Find out all the ways you can watch Newsy here.

About Janet Young

Check Also

Asian markets open lower after price data slams Wall Street | National

By ELAINE KURTENBACH – AP Business Writer Asian markets slipped on Wednesday after Wall Street …