JRSA Forum. March 2014. Volume 32, Number 1.

NAS Panel on Modernizing Crime Statistics Convened

The National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences has convened a panel on Modernizing the Nation's Crime Statistics. The panel, which is sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will assess and make recommendations for the development of a modern set of crime measures in the United States and the best means for obtaining them. The review will evaluate and make recommendations to: develop a framework for identifying the types of crimes to be considered in a modern crime classification; assess optimal methods to collect the data to complete the crime classification framework developed in the review; and maximize the use of locally collected and existing data and information technology. The panel is chaired by Jeffrey Sedgwick, former director of BJS, and consists of representatives from academia and federal, state, and local agencies (Kim English, the Colorado Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) director, is a member of the panel).

The first meeting of the panel was held on December 13-14 in Washington, DC. The panel discussed its charges and heard about recent developments at BJS and in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The panel also heard invited comments from key stakeholders, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Executive Research Forum, and the JRSA. Stan Orchowsky, JRSA's Research Director, passed along to the panel comments provided by the SAC directors. In his remarks, Dr. Orchowsky indicated that federal requirements for data reporting and definitions of crime drive the data that are available for analysis at the state and local levels. He noted the importance of issues related to data quality and technology, and suggested that the panel address how to provide incentives to local agencies if they are being asked to report greater amounts of data.

The second meeting of the panel was held on February 25-26 in Washington, DC. The panel received an overview of data reporting systems in the Coral Gables, FL and Philadelphia police departments, as well as a review of how the Massachusetts State Police collects Uniform Crime Report data from local law enforcement agencies in the state. The panel also heard about the draft crime classification scheme being developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

More information on the panel can be found on the NAS Committee on National Statistics' website.