The FBI's UCR Hate Crime Data Collection Program and NIBRS

In compliance with the mandates set forth in the Hate Crime Statistics Act, the FBI established the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Hate Crime Data Collection Program. The program involves the collection of bias crime data from state and local law enforcement agencies. For data collection purposes, bias crimes are defined as "criminal offenses committed against a person or property which are motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against a race, religion,disability,ethnic/national origin, or sexual orientation." Bias crimes are reported to the FBI in two formats: 1) A quarterly incident-based form (submitted as an adjunct to the Summary UCR System) and 2) the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). (Please see the FBI Data Collection Guidelines.) Most police agencies submit bias crime data using the quarterly report which has little or no information about the victim and offender. NIBRS collects information about the victim, offense, offender, arrestee, damaged property, and more. Clearly NIBRS is the preferred method of data collection and its utilization by state and local law enforcement is growing. Between 1995 and 2002 participation in NIBRS grew at a steady rate. In 1995, only 4% of the U.S. population was covered by NIBRS reporting agencies; by 2002 that proportion reached 17%. In terms of hate crime reporting, most police agencies in the United States participate in the UCR Hate Crime Data Collection Program. Between 1995 -2002, roughly 85% of the U.S.population was covered by law enforcement agencies that participate in the program. The proportion of these agencies using NIBRS to report their hate crime data is growing and continues to grow. In 1995 only 5% of the hate crime contributors submitted in NIBRS format. That proportion steadily increased to nearly 20% in 2002. Please see NIBRS COVERAGE for a summary of NIBRS and Hate Crime coverage between 1995 and 2002.

NOTE: Due to the public availability of NIBRS data in electronic format, this study only covers the years 1995-2000.

While NIBRS data cannot be considered a national sample, it does represent a large number of bias crimes from a large and diverse segment of the country. And, it appears to follow the patterns of the National program. Please see COMPARING NIBRS HATE CRIMES TO ALL UCR HATE CRIMES. As more police agencies update their records management systems, the FBI anticipates a greater proportion of these bias crimes will be reported through NIBRS.

For more information on the FBI's UCR Hate Crime Data Collection Program and NIBRS, please refer to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program . Additional information can be found at the Bureau of Justice Statistics,at the JRSA IBR Resource Center, and at SEARCH.

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