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Improving Crime Data Project

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2010
74 pages
This report presents the methodology, challenges, and results of a project committed to improving methods of crime-data collection, coding, sharing, and analysis, as well as the organizational and operational aspects of agency-based technology for compiling crime information.
The proposed model is intended to enable agencies to contribute data from different databases into a singular platform that allows cross-agency data retrieval, sharing, and analysis. The project demonstrated proof-of-concept for the unified crime data and analysis model, but it also encountered technical and organizational challenges in the process. These challenges and how they were addressed are described. The project even went beyond the proof-of-concept and implemented a new practice for crime-data reporting across jurisdictions. In addition, the project developed a method and model for assessing the influence of socioeconomic conditions on city homicide rates and demonstrated the impact of these conditions on the rank ordering of cities according to their homicide rates. The analysis can be extended to other crime types. The authors advise that State criminal justice agencies or data clearinghouses currently offer the best means of facilitating data-sharing and analysis across local law enforcement agencies. The next step is for the State coordinating agency to create mechanisms for the rapid and timely return of crime data to the local agency so that it can be used for comparative analysis of crime problems across jurisdictions and the timely development of effective responses. Other recommendations pertain to actions that specified Federal agencies could take in facilitating a rapid implementation of the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) across the Nation, as well as the timely dissemination of NIBRS data for use by local law enforcement agencies. Project methods in achieving its objectives are described. Extensive references and appended copies of correspondence indicating support for the project

Date Published: May 1, 2010