In a recent post, I talked about a 19% crime reduction in our Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Part 1 crime for the first six months of 2010. This UCR system is widely discussed, but often misunderstood and misconstrued.
The Uniform Crime Report was developed in 1929 by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) at the request of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to measure crime nationally and it is considered a “summary reporting” system. UCR reporting is voluntary and participating agencies report their statistics in 22 crime categories and 44 arrest categories every six months. The statistics are sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and then forwarded to the FBI.
Candidly, when the numbers are good, it’s much safer to talk about the flaws in the system. Unfortunately, the big focus is often on the Part 1 component of the report, to the exclusion of some of the other important issues, such as domestic violence. There are a number of other crimes which are completely excluded in UCR reporting.
In as much as crime is important, the largest part of what we do in policing is considered “order maintenance.” We respond to alarms, disturbances, missing people, crashes and we conduct patrols (crime suppression) throughout the City. We police our community in partnership with our residents and unfortunately, the quality and value of this connection does not shine through in UCR statistics.
Both FDLE and the FBI recognize the limitations of the UCR program. The FDLE website states, UCR is not reporting total crime but, rather a select list of crimes reported to the police. This makes the trend data possibly more useful than the actual numbers themselves. The FBI website reports that, since crime is a sociological phenomenon influenced by a variety of factors, the FBI discourages ranking the agencies and using the data as a measurement of law enforcement effectiveness.
Ultimately, the UCR reports are important to us, allowing us to look at certain trends over time. However, we look at what is important by the way you define it. That’s why we are constantly analyzing information and deploying resources to address all factors that influence the quality of life in our community, including issues like gangs, vehicle crashes, graffiti, weapon offenses, vandalism, and a variety of nuisance behaviors.
Keeping the peace is a community affair. We, the police, can only be responsive to our unique needs if you choose to be informed and involved. Stop by for a visit at www.bocapolice.com. Thank you.