The data in the tables of Section II—Offenses Reported are organized in several ways. First, the data are categorized for the Nation as a whole, then by geographic divisions; individual states; Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs); and cities, towns, and counties. Appendix III of this publication provides a comprehensive explanation of the UCR Program’s definitions of areas.
The data are presented in the tables of this section as crime volume and/or crime rate (occurrence per 100,000 U.S. inhabitants). The exact number of crimes occurring within the United States is unknown. In Tables 1 through 7 of this book, the UCR Program provides estimates based upon the number of offenses that are known to law enforcement and, using these estimates, computes crime rates for each 100,000 in population. The Program uses current, resident population counts in computing crimes rates. The reader should be aware that all communities are affected to some degree by seasonal or transient population changes, and the Program’s crime rates do not account for these short-term variations. In addition, the reader should remember that many factors influence the amount and type of crime occurring from place to place, and shifting variables may cause crime to vary from time to time within the same place. Other factors contributing to the level of crime in a given area are discussed in Crime Factors, (page v).
One tool that law enforcement administrators and others can use in analyzing the volume of local crime and the performance of the law enforcement agencies is national data. That analysis, however, should not end with a comparison based solely on data presented in this publication. Only by analysis that considers the numerous unique factors that shape local crime can one make a true assessment of a community’s crime problem or the effectiveness of law enforcement operations.
An in-depth discussion of table construction methodology can be found in Appendix I of this publication. The following summarizes the contents of the tables contained in this Section.
Because of the limited reporting of arson offenses by law enforcement agencies, the UCR Program does not estimate for arson; therefore, arson offenses are not included in the estimated offense tables (Tables 1-7). However, arson offenses reported by individual law enforcement agencies are displayed in Tables 8–11. Two-year arson trends are shown in Tables 12–15.
Information regarding the UCR Program’s statistical methodology and table construction can be found in Appendix I.