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Using NIBRS (National Incident-Based Reporting System) Data to Analyze Violent Crime

NCJ Number
B A Reaves
Date Published
November 1993
20 pages
After reviewing the development and characteristics of the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), this article presents results of analyses that used the 1991 NIBRS rape and robbery data.

In September 1982, a Bureau of Justice Statistics-FBI task force recommended improvements to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. The result was the establishment of a more comprehensive and detailed reporting system called the National Incident-Based Reporting System. The NIBRS collected its first data in 1991. An estimated 40 percent of the Nation will report to NIBRS by the end of 1994. NIBRS' ability to link information about many aspects of a crime to the crime incident marks the most important difference between NIBRS and the UCR Program. The NIBRS data elements are in six segments: administrative, offense, property, victim, offender, and arrestee. NIBRS enables analysts to study how these data elements relate to each other for each type of offense. This article discusses the coverage of 1991 NIBRS data, the format of NIBRS data records, storage requirements for NIBRS data, strategies for reducing the size of the NIBRS data file, reporting levels of the retained NIBRS data elements, and the creation of the final NIBRS data file. Analyses of 1991 NIBRS data on rape and robbery address such topics as victim-offender relationship, crime location, victim age, time of day, type of weapon used, victim injuries, type of property taken, and victim and offender demographics. 16 tables and 2 references