Assignment: Predicting Crime with the Uniform Crime Reporting System
In your final consulting assignment, the mayor of Centervale and the city counsel have asked you to help them understand how to better predict crime rates.
An important part of the criminal system is tracking data to help society develop a better understanding of crime and to prevent further crime in the United States. Every year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) releases a statistical report on crime in the United States, called the Uniform Crime Report (UCR). In this assignment, you will access this report, familiarize yourself with its functionalities, and analyze the data to develop a prediction.
All the information you provide is to be presented in a formal 3- to 6-page paper that properly uses subheadings to categorize information. Be sure to use specific information from external sources to support your ideas.
Part 1: Learning the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting System
Access the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting System at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr and familiarize yourself with the site.
Using research and data from the site, address the following:
- Explain how individual agencies classify information that is compiled into the report.
- Analyze and identify resources public safety officials, like sheriffs or police chiefs, have to classify or categorize crimes in their cities, counties, and states.
- Discuss the pros and cons of the Uniform Crime Reporting System and the yearly reports.
Part 2: Analyzing Specific Data
An important goal of the criminal justice system is to use the information gathered about crimes to understand and predict criminal behavior. Access the homepage of the UCR (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr) and complete the following steps:
1. Select a type of crime to research (e.g., “Violent Crime” or “Property Crime”). Then, choose a specific crime within one of those categories (e.g., Violent Crime: Murder).
2. You will need both national data and your state’s data for the crime you chose.
a. Choose your state to research that type of crime: Under “Browse By,” click “City Agency,” click “Table 8,” and choose a state.
b. Gather the national data for that type of crime: Under “Browse By,” click “National Data”; use the tables to answer the questions.
Using research and data from the site and other external sources, address the following:
- Explain how the UCR can help public safety officials predict crime and present crime rates to the American public.
- Based on the data and what you have learned in the course, forecast the criminal activity for the nation, your state, or a selected city.
- Compare the UCR data for the crime you selected with the same statistical information for that crime in 1950 (you will need to search for these statistics). Are there similarities or differences or can you infer from the data that the trends have remained the same?
- How can government officials use the crime statistics data from the 1970s to predict crime twenty years later? How reliable are the statistics in the UCR? Are law enforcement agencies required to report their criminal incidents for compilation in the yearly UCR?