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An Update on Bias and Item Missing Data in NIBRS

Wed, Nov 14, 9:30 to 10:50am, Marriott, International 4, International Level

Abstract

The FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data offers exceptional opportunities for understanding crime. Concerns persist, however, that the data are biased due to lack of national coverage and overrepresentation of smaller population areas. In addition, item missing data rates and how they are changing are not known. The Center for Cybercrime Studies at John Jay College maintains a relational database implementation of NIBRS data that now includes over 85 million crime incidents covering the years 1995 through 2016. Using the database, we examine NIBRS data over this twenty-two year period. We compare NIBRS crime breakdowns for both violent and property crimes with results derived from national UCR Summary Program data and other widely used crime data collections. We also show that in recent years annual changes in rates of property and violent crimes in NIBRS are similar to those determined from UCR Summary and SHR data. We also establish baseline rates for item missing data for key data items. Indications are that NIBRS data continues to improve as additional law enforcement agencies participate in the NIBRS program, and more agencies employ operational systems that facilitate NIBRS reporting.

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