In 1930, Attorney General William D. Mitchell accepted responsibility for a crime statistics program that had been initiated the year before by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). The IACP wrote in its July 1930 Monthly Bulletin that through the leadership of the Bureau of Investigation (a precursor to the FBI) members were hopeful that participation in the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program would continue to grow. They also stated that the initial voluntary response to the Program from police agencies “demonstrates the willingness and ability of hundreds of American police departments to cooperate in providing data concerning this most difficult of our national problems.”
Since then, the UCR Program has grown substantially in both the scope of information collected and the volume of users who rely on UCR data to assess the extent of crime in their communities, states, and the Nation. Today, the Uniform Crime Reports page on the FBI’s website often has more than 100,000 visitors a month.
Despite its rich history and remarkable growth, the UCR Program faces some challenges. To move the Program forward, the FBI is focusing on two areas: Developing information technology solutions to make internal processing of data more efficient, and creating ways to better serve data contributors to make the collection of crime statistics a smoother and more timely process. Such changes will help the FBI disseminate statistics that better serve our law enforcement data contributors, members of the criminal justice community, government agencies, legislators, researchers, students, the media, and private citizens.
In his letter accepting responsibility for the UCR Program, Attorney General Mitchell wrote, “Every effort will be made to furnish complete and accurate crime data to the peace officers of the United States.” The FBI stands by that pledge and relies on the same staunch commitment from law enforcement to furnish the data that remains the cornerstone of the Program.
Robert S. Mueller, III