What's the deal with IBR?

January 26, 2021 by Kate Nadolski

What's the deal with IBR?

To understand the magnitude of crime happening in a specific area and stay a step ahead in proactive policing, law enforcement agencies must collect data.

Over the years, various systems were developed to help agencies do this efficiently. These systems were created by the FBI and agencies across the nation are highly encouraged to participate as lack of participation can impact funding.

Many agencies are currently using or migrating away from uniform crime reporting (UCR). UCR requires each agency record only the top offense a perpetrator has committed, and that information is then reported to the FBI. In turn, the FBI uses this information to identify trends and insights as to what’s happening in specific communities.

As agencies move away from UCR, they’re now switching to the newest FBI-recommended reporting system. Incident-based reporting (IBR) is similar to UCR but does have some very important differences. With IBR, officers are required to report each offense a perpetrator commits. The only thing that is not included are minor infractions such as a traffic violation.

Let’s say a criminal commits homicide, larceny, and assault. Under IBR, the officer handling the case would document the proper information for all three offenses and submit it to the FBI. While the FBI has not made IBR a requirement for all agencies to participate in, agencies that do not adhere to these reporting standards become ineligible for certain grant monies.

The overall idea behind pushing agencies to switch from UCR to IBR comes from the notion that reporting each individual offense a singular person commits would provide a broader scope of what crimes are being committed across the country. Which, in turn, has the potential to provide more accurate crime statistics for any area whose law enforcement agency is participating in this reporting method.

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