Crime Measurement Methods in the United States
In the United States of America, the three main ways of measuring data are the “Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and the National Crime Victimization Survey.”
The Uniform Crime Reports (UCR)
This was the first to be formulated and formalized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. After evaluating the frequency and the seriousness of the crimes reported, it is used by various government officials mainly for research and policy formulation. It also provides the most commonly cited crime statistics in the USA. It covers such crimes as burglary, larceny, aggravated assault, and theft. The Uniform crime reports were considered one way of measuring how effective the law enforcement agencies are in their duty of enforcing the law. The data captured in the UCR are the offense and arrest data and supplementary data like the type and the value of the property stolen. The method applied here is that of self-reported as used in article one, where the data was obtained from the National Youth Survey on 1725 respondents, which proved instrumental in formulating the relationship between gender and crime.
National Incident-Based Crime reporting (NICBR)
The second is the National Incident-Based Crime Reporting (NIBCR). This was a modification and an improved form of the UCR. It involved the enhancement of URC in three areas; that law enforcement agencies use incident-based systems to report offenses and arrests, that all law enforcement agencies submit incident-based data for all their offense and arrests, and lastly, recommended that UCR implement a quality assurance program. The NIBCR based crime must be supported and certified by the FBI. This method of measuring crime was used in the analyses of the motive that accompany the frequency of committing crimes based on the influences like race and environment as used in the Chicago community. This method involves a survey from reliable and comprehensive data from census and police stations.
The strengths of NICBR
First is the scope of data collection; the data collected is not restrained or limited to specific categories of offense. Also, the offense definition can meet the state, local, and national reporting. The other strength includes the comprehensive collection and analysis of data on particular incidents.
The weaknesses of NIBCR
A limited offense data is obtained. The NIBCR records a limited number of crimes, majorly part 1 crime and the part two crimes that are frequently committed are not captured. Secondly, they capture crimes that are only reported. Hence, unreported crimes always go unnoticed and unattended. The research on the youth and criminal activities is based on NICBR.
National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
This is the primary source for collecting and analyzing characters of crime victimization. Its objectives include having detailed information on victims and consequences, the number and types of crimes that have not been reported to the police, and the provision of uniform measures of the selected type of crimes. NCVS is an important way of compiling crime statistics in the USA, and it is based on the analysis of criminal events. This method can profile criminal activities based on the type of the crime, the frequency of reporting the crimes, the gender associated with the crimes, and the characteristics of the victims. This is based on age, gender, social status, and race. The weaknesses of NCVS are; it suffers from sampling bias, sampling and non-sampling error, and serious victimization.