National Incident Based Reporting (NIBRS)

As of January 1, 2021, the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) became the national standard for law enforcement crime data reporting in the United States. The transition to NIBRS represents a significant shift – and improvement – in how reported crime is measured and estimated by the federal government.

NIBRS captures detailed data about the characteristics of criminal incidents, including:

  • a broad array of offenses
  • types and amount of property lost
  • demographic information about victims, offenders, and persons arrested
  • what type of weapon, if any, was used in the incident.

NIBRS data more accurately reflect the types of crime addressed by police agencies, like simple assault, animal cruelty, destruction of property, intimidation, and identity theft. The broad scope of the information collected in NIBRS will greatly improve the nation’s understanding of crime and public safety.

Since 1930, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program has collected information about crimes known to and arrests made by law enforcement. The UCR Summary Reporting System (SRS) collected monthly counts of the number of crimes known to law enforcement from thousands of agencies throughout the United States. Information on the number of crimes known was recorded for ten offense categories, based on the most serious offense reported for each crime incident:

  • murder and nonnegligent manslaughter
  • rape
  • robbery
  • aggravated assault
  • burglary
  • larceny-theft
  • motor vehicle theft
  • arson
  • human trafficking - commercial sex acts
  • human trafficking - involuntary servitude

In addition, the SRS collected counts of arrests only for an additional set of offense categories, broken down by the age, sex, and race of the arrestee. 

Building a new vision for crime statistics

In 1982, BJS and the FBI sponsored a study of the UCR Program, with the objective of revising the program to meet the changing needs of law enforcement moving into the 21st century. This effort to provide more comprehensive and detailed crime statistics, which proposed the development and implementation of a new data collection, the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

Some common crime definitions are below:

  • Aggravated Assault – An unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault usually is accompanied by the use of a weapon or by means likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
  • Arson – Any willful or malicious burning or attempt to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc. 
  • Burglary – The unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft.
  • Criminal Homicide – The willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another.
  • Larceny-Theft (Except Motor Vehicles) – The unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another.
  • Motor Vehicle Theft – The theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle.
  • Robbery – The taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.

For more information on the NIBRS Program visit the FBI website.