The Two Official Sources of Victimization Data
Compare and contrast the two official sources of victimization data.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
The BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
|Subject||Law and governance||Pages||3||Style||APA|
Comparison of The Two Official Sources of Victimization Data
Victimization data has to come from valid and reliable sources because it is used in making major policy decisions. As such, in the US, the FBI relies on data from mainly two official sources. The two official and widely used systems for recording crimes and making key policy decisions are the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) (Barnett-Ryan, Langton, & Planty, 2014). Although the two official sources are similar in tracking various forms of victimization data, they differ in the type and depth of data that they track.
One of the primary similarity between UCR and NCVS is that the two organizations are the largest and powerful providers of the most comprehensive resources for information related to both crime and victimization. As such, they provide a wide range of information on victimization such as the victims of different crimes including their frequency, characteristics, and the outcomes of criminal victimization (National Institute of Justice, 2019). Additionally, the primary focus of the two is the collection and reporting of criminalization reports and statistics. Although the two deploy different methods in conducting their work, the information they provide complements each other and helps in gaining an in-depth understanding of the crime and criminalization problem in the United States. Information obtained from both the UCR and NCVS makes the data on criminal victimization more comprehensive and ensures all aspects that need to be known about crimes are included (Barnett-Ryan, Langton, & Planty, 2014). However, despite these similarities, the two have several areas of difference.
One of the differences between UCR and NCVS lies in the methods used by the organizations in their collection and reporting of crime-related data and information. Whereas the UCR utilizes reports by law enforcement agencies and records obtained from individual crime incidences to transmit information to the FBI, the NCVS uses interviews conducted by the BJS on a nationwide representation sample (Rennison, 2014). Additionally, there exists a difference in the number of crimes that are tracked by each body, whereas the UCR tracks crime mainly from several areas, the NCVS provides information for more additional crimes. Specifically, although UCR is majorly concerned with reporting crimes such as murder, rae, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, arson and others, the NCVS has data on other crimes such as drug abuse violations, and disorderly conduct among others (Barnett-Ryan, Langton, & Planty, 2014). Also, the level of reliability of victimization data from the two sources differ. In the case of the UCR, the monthly reports submitted to the FBI undergo a thorough evaluation and cleaning, which makes the data accurate, reasonable, and free from minor errors. However, in the case of the NCVS, the accuracy and reliability of data is based o whether the sampling was done well (Rennison, 2014). Also, whereas UCR is more inclined to provide the numbers of crime, NCVS focuses more on the nature and frequency of offences and subsequent victimizations.
In conclusion, whereas UCR and NCVS are similar in their role of collecting and reporting comprehensive victimization data, they differ on the nature and quantity of information that they provide. Notably, the two bodies are all focused in collecting and reporting crime and criminalization data. However, whereas UCR gets its information form law enforcement agencies, NCVS derives its data from surveys done around the country. Also, UCR’s data on victimization is more accurate and reliable because of the evaluation done to ascertain its validity. However, the reliability and accuracy of NCVS data is based on whether the survey done was proper.
Barnett-Ryan, C., Langton, L., & Planty, M. (2014). The nation’s two crime measures. US Department of Justice, Washington, DC.
National Institute of Justice (NIJ). (2019). Sources of Crime Data: Uniform Crime Reports and the National Incident-Based Reporting System. Retrieved from https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/sources-crime-data-uniform-crime-reports-and-national-incident-based-reporting
Rennison, C. M. (2014). National crime victimization survey (NCVS). The Encyclopedia of Theoretical Criminology, 1-3.