In 1930, Congress authorized the FBI to manage a national law enforcement crime reporting system. The new Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program was adapted from one begun in the 1920s by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The UCR Program tallies certain offenses reported to, and arrests made by, law enforcement agencies. UCR uses standard offense definitions to count crime in localities across America regardless of variations in crime laws from state to state.
The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) collects crime and arrest reports from over 500 New York State police departments and sheriffs’ offices. DCJS compiles these reports as New York’s official crime statistics and submits them to the FBI under the National Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
Importance of Crime Reporting
Timely and accurate crime statistics are essential to reducing crime in New York State. Each month, preliminary statewide crime data are posted on eJusticeNY, a secure law enforcement website. These crime reports are structured so that police departments and prosecution can quickly see if crime in their jurisdiction, county, or region is up or down, and whether spikes in crime, such as burglary, are specific to their region or more widespread. Timely and accurate crime reporting is a critical first step to understanding crime, facilitating communication between neighboring departments, and proactively addressing increases in crime. This can improve state and local law enforcement’s ability to gauge and react to current statewide crime trends.
DCJS works closely with law enforcement agencies to improve the timeliness of crime report submissions so that crime statistics are gathered and received by DCJS within 30 days of the end of the reporting month. Timely reporting has now become a condition of receiving anti-crime grant funds administered by DCJS. While most agencies have significantly improved the timeliness of their crime reports, some reports are still delayed or missing. These reports are excluded from crime analyses posted each month on eJusticeNY. It is expected that the timeliness of reports will continue to improve so that all New York State law enforcement agencies have the most comprehensive and current picture possible of how crime is trending.
Crime Reporting Systems
Law enforcement agencies use one of two reporting systems to send crime data to DCJS:
Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)
The majority of agencies in New York State use Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). UCR tallies offenses reported and arrests made by law enforcement each month. It requires that offenses be classified and only the most serious one in each crime incident be counted, or scored. UCR also collects information about property and weapons.
Incident-Based Reporting (IBR)
DCJS strongly encourages law enforcement to adopt or adapt their agency records management systems to generate IBR reports. IBR yields reports which provide more detail to police management and research staff than UCR reports. IBR collects and links offender and victim information, links specific arrests with specific crimes, counts all the offenses that occur in a single incident, and provides significant details, such as property taken and weapons used. DCJS staff works closely with law enforcement agencies to assist them in the transition from UCR to IBR.
For additional information, please email the Crime Reporting Unit at the following address:
For UCR: firstname.lastname@example.org
For IBR: email@example.com
For crime statistics requests: firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff can also be reached by calling DCJS at 518-457-5837 or 1-800-262-3257