I represented the IJIS Institute at the Association of State Uniform Crime Reporting Programs (ASUCRP) Conference held at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on September 5-7, 2018. ASUCRP represents participants in the National Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.
Let’s start with a little background. UCR data is collected either through Summary or the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) reporting methods on the local, regional, state, territorial, and national levels. Members of ASUCRP collect and analyze crime data that is not available through any other source.
This was a very productive conference that brought together participants from state UCR Program Offices, FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), the Bureau of Justice Statistics NCS-X program, Justice Research and Statistics Association members, and several IJIS Institute Member companies.
The highlights from the conference are included in this article.
Amy Blasher of FBI CJIS provided a comprehensive update on FBI CJIS programs. Amy said they are working toward one Uniform Crime Statistics reporting standard for local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies that will provide richer data to inform, educate, and strengthen communities. Major components of this effort include the transition to NIBRS by 2021, the National Use of Force Data Collection, the FBI reporting their own data, and Crime Data explorer. Other CJIS updates included:
- UCR Tech Refresh – deployed in June of 2018, a more streamlined process with automated error, warning and data quality messages. For more information, go to: email@example.com
- Topics for the Advisory Policy Board (APB) Fall meeting include: a UCR Program Update, NIBRS Incident definitions and dictionary of UCR words and phrases topic paper, reporting to UCR program by nontraditional means, crime reporting timeliness recommendations, and the Status of the NIBRS Transition.
- The Office of the Deputy Attorney General has a desire to report violent crime counts on a more frequent basis. The FBI UCR Program has been tasked to develop a mechanism to provide violent crime statistics for 303 agencies (most in high population areas) for use in high-level briefings.
- The National Academies of Sciences recently released recommendations for modernizing crime statistics. In response, the FBI will create a Task Force (an extension of UCR Subcommittee) which will have different subgroups that will feed their recommendations up to the UCR Subcommittee Chair to report to UCR Subcommittee. The FBI is looking for people to serve on these subgroups. Modernizing Crime Statistics: Report 1: Defining and Classifying Crime assesses and makes recommendations for the development of a modern set of crime measures in the United States and the best means for obtaining them. This first report develops a new classification of crime by weighing various perspectives on how crime should be defined and organized with the needs and demands of the full array of crime data users and stakeholders.
Scott Trent provided a historical overview of the APB. The APB was created in 1994 using a shared management concept. The APB is a Federal Advisory Committee and is therefore re-chartered every two years. The APB is responsible for reviewing appropriate policy, technical, and operational issues related to CJIS Division programs. Subsequent to their review, the Board makes recommendations to the director of the FBI. The APB is composed of 35 representatives from criminal justice agencies and national security agencies and organizations throughout the United States. The APB meets at least twice during each calendar year. A notice of these meetings is published in the Federal Register. Meetings are open to the public by law and the minutes are posted online. Nick Mega firstname.lastname@example.org is the designated federal officer for the APB. For more information about membership, go to: https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/the-cjis-advisory-process.
Kyle Comer (MO) and Scott Trent (FBI CJIS) provided an update on the NIBRS Transition Task Force. Kyle opened with a few quotes from former IJIS Institute Executive Director Paul Wormeli… “better data leads to better information which leads to better knowledge,” and, “NIBRS is actually not about generating crime statistics, it’s about having better information to make better decisions.” Important points from this presentation include:
- The XCOTA tool is available for use to get to NIBRS.
- The FBI is trying to make NIBRS pages more user friendly and less text bookish.
- 10 federal agencies are now reporting and 36 have committed to report. 14 do not report NIBRS since they do not make arrests.
- State Programs – Mississippi has committed to establish a UCR Program.
- States with level of agency commitment to meet the 2021 deadline:
o 29 states have 76-100%
o 5 states have 25-75%
o 4 states 26 – 50%
o 8 states 0-25%
Amy Blasher (FBI), Jeff Sedgwick (JRSA), Daniel Cork (Natl Academy of Sciences), and Jonathan Hawkins, (Professor at Carnegie Mellon) discussed the modernization of crime statistics. The National Academies of Sciences recently released recommendations for modernizing crime statistics. The study was done at the request of OMB, BJS, and the FBI. In the presentation, they noted that an attribute-based reporting system aligns well with NIBRS, and we can do advanced analysis with this data. With NIBRS, we will have data we never saw before and the possibilities are endless with the advanced crime analysis. An attribute-based system is a stark departure from the current system.
The IJIS Institute’s UCR/NIBRS Working Group conducted a session on the Working Group’s activities related to web services for NIBRS. The interactive session was led by Chair Jim Pingel of URL Integration. Other work group members serving on the panel included: Todd Thompson (Caliber Public Safety), Melissa Winesburg (Optimum Technologies), Randy Cole (CODY Systems), Chris Bonyun (Beyond 20/20), Ellie Bennett (Mark43), Michael Wise (FBI-CJIS), and and Patti Zafke (MN BCA).
The session used an interactive polling app to obtain input from participants regarding current methods of submission and plans for submission in the future. Jim Pingel described the collaboration between the IJIS Institute, ASUCRP, and FBI CJIS as working together in emerging technologies to help improve timeliness and efficiencies of crime data submission. The panel provided an overview of submission methods and the benefits of each method. During a discussion of state variations and the potential of XML, panelists talked about extending the NIBRS Specification to capture state-specific requirements. Jim concluding by credited the IJIS Institute for bringing competitors together to work on common problems!