A new Congressional Research Service report discusses “How Crime in the United States is Measured“.
Crime data collected through the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), the National
Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), and the National Crime Victimization
Survey (NCVS) are used by Congress to inform policy decisions and allocate federal
criminal justice funding to states. As such, it is important to understand how each
program collects and reports crime data, and the limitations associated with the data.
This report reviews (1) the history of the UCR, the NIBRS, and the NCVS; (2)
the methods each program uses to collect crime data; and (3) the limitations of the
data collected by each program. The report then compares the similarities and
differences of UCR and NCVS data. It concludes by reviewing issues related to the
NIBRS and the NCVS.