Eighty years ago this month, the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) took over the collection and monthly printing of the Nation’s crime statistics from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The BOI’s September 1930 edition of Uniform Crime Reports for the United States and Its Possessions included data from 768 law enforcement agencies in 43 of the 48 states and Washington, D.C., as well as information from the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico.
The 39-page book contained five tables, which included information on the number of offenses known to the police; county and other reports of known offenses; supplementary returns of known offenses; known offenses for cities of 100,000 in population and over; and total police department employees. The publication was available from the Government Printing Office for a mere 10 cents.
As it continued to collect and publish crime data, the BOI went through a few name changes before it finally became known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935.
Over the years, the publication has evolved to reflect changing times and demographics. It went from a monthly report to quarterly releases in 1932. As a war-time economic measure following America’s entry into World War II, the crime data were published semiannually beginning in 1942. The data were published annually starting in 1958. That first annual publication included 27 tables over 121 pages. A year later the publication was first referred to as Crime in the United States, and it has been so named ever since.
Today, Crime in the United States is a web-only publication that has expanded to 81 tables, along with charts and graphics, based on information provided by nearly 18,000 city, university and college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies from all 50 states and Washington D.C., as well as from law enforcement in Puerto Rico and other outlying areas.
Although much has changed over the past 80 years, the American public can depend upon the FBI to continue to provide an account of the crime in the United States.