Uniform Crime ReportsThe Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) are crime indexes, published annually by the FBI, which summarize the incidence and rate of reported crimes within the US. The report is used by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
History of the UCR
In 1930, Congress authorized the Attorney General to survey crime rates, and the FBI was chosen to do this. The UCR were based upon earlier work by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
The UCR does not use legal definitions of the crimes it indexes; rather, the defintions are based on an internal FBI classifaction system. Much of the data presented via the UCR is expressed in the form of rates; such as, 23.6 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants of region X. The UCR indexes, in Part I, reported incidents of aggravated assault, arson, burglary, forcible rape, larceny, motor vehicle theft, murder, robbery, and theft. The FBI began recording arson rates, as part of the UCR, in 1979. In Part II, the following categories are indexed: "simple assault, curfew offenses/loitering, embezzlement, forgery and counterfeiting, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, drug offenses, fraud, gambling, liquor offenses, offenses against the family, prostitution, public drunkenness, runaways, sex offenses, stolen property, vandalism, vagrancy, and weapons offenses. While Part I is derived from reported crimes, Part II is derived from arrests made. This distinction exists because Part II crimes are generally not reported.
Criticism of the UCR
Critics of the UCR note that it only lists reported crimes and is thus, arguably, not useful in learning what the actual crime rates are. Critics note that the index only lists the most serious crime, should a group of crimes be connected; for example, if one was murdered during a car theft. Critics also argue that the index is biased; in that it only lists rapes against women under "forcible rape", it does not list rapes against men, nor does it list same-sex rape. The UCR defines forcible rape as: "the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will."