U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Expanding the Scope of Research on Recent Crime Trends

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2012
87 pages
The primary purpose of this project was to improve the data infrastructure that supports crime-trends research by compiling the most commonly referenced datasets and measures in a centralized location.
An ancillary objective of the project was to illustrate the utility of the resulting data archive. This was done by addressing three research issues: a uniform set of analyses across States, counties, and cities; an assessment of the conditional effects of economic conditions on recent crime trends; and an expanded analysis of the effects of key criminal justice features on recent crime trends that have not been widely considered in prior research. These criminal justice features include the nature of policing and age-specific and crime-specific imprisonment rates. The specific samples, time frames, and measures used varied across the three issues addressed; however, the general analytical strategy in addressing these issues is to construct, when possible, a panel database with requisite measures focused on the following time points: 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010. This was done using the Crime Trends Data Archive (CTDA) produced by the project. This approach benefits from the strength of a pooled cross-sectional design, while avoiding the data imputation that is required to support panel analyses of annual time periods for sub-national geographic units. The three sets of empirical analyses conducted in this project include models of overall homicide, non-lethal violence (robbery and aggravated assault), and non-violent property crime (burglary, motor vehicle theft, and larceny). The project estimated a series of two-way fixed-effects panel models of crime rates that include fixed effects that control for stable, but unmeasured, city attributes and temporal shocks that are shared across cities. This report also identifies factors that influence crime rates, including criminal justice policies and practices. Extensive tables and 97 references

Date Published: September 1, 2012