Law: The Picture of Crime

A new way to grasp the picture of crime should combine the practices of existing approaches. UCR (Uniform Crime Reports), NIBRS (National Incident-Based Report System), and NCVS (National Crime Victimization Survey) all have a long history of assessing crime rates (Pazzani & Tita, 2009). However, NIBRS and NCVS were created to improve UCR but with different perspectives on obtaining information (Pazzani & Tita, 2009). Moreover, collecting data for only NIBRS is quite expensive, although the participation is voluntary and covers only 20% of the population (Pazzani & Tita, 2009). Therefore, rather than spending resources on managing the three distinct tools, it may be better to develop one unified system that would be responsible for examining crimes based on reports from both police and civilians.

The proposed way may provide a better picture of crime by implementing the most efficient and discharging outdated procedures of the instruments currently used. For instance, Pazzani and Tita (2009) state that the contemporary methods often record the same crime differently, but the suggested system may be more precise in identifying the type of offense. Perfectly measuring and describing crime is impossible, though it may be beneficial to make participation mandatory but with incentives and generate statistics on actions taken by police to decrease misdeeds (Pazzani & Tita, 2009). Investing all resources in creating a more structured network with a higher possibility of positive long-term outcomes may be better.

The main concern regarding crime data tools is that they do not represent a sufficient image of offenses across the country. While UCR covers approximately 95% of the population, the method is not comprehensive enough and lacks some information assessed by NIBRS and NCVS (Pazzani & Tita, 2009). In contrast, NIBRS is more detailed, but accounting rates are relatively low (Pazzani & Tita, 2009). The matter of scarce data is connected to victimization, as crime reports and statistics present knowledge on such factors as types and frequency of offenses alongside targets’ personalities (Rennison, 2019). Consequently, to better identify and help victims, the nation needs a modified system that would deliver information on crime. For example, to discover that victimization has occurred, it may be useful for census officers to collect data more often in areas likely to experience offenses based on demographic information (Pazzani & Tita, 2009). While conducting interviews, the officers may increase people’s awareness of discussing crime by suggesting that disclosing details on offenses is valuable for society.


Pazzani, L., & Tita, G. (2009). Crime classification systems: NCVS, NIBRS, and UCR. In J. M. Miller (Ed.)., 21st century criminology: A reference handbook (pp. 375-382). SAGE Publications.

Rennison, C. M. (2009). Crime reports and statistics. In J. M. Miller (Ed.)., 21st century criminology: A reference handbook (pp. 383-390). SAGE Publications.

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LawBirdie. "Law: The Picture of Crime." June 9, 2023.