In its 75th year, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program serves as a long-standing example of how the country can benefit when information flows freely among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The cooperative efforts of these agencies to report their jurisdictions’ crime statistics enable the FBI to present a nationwide view of crime.
Though Congress passed an act in 1870 calling for the attorney general to gather crime statistics for the United States, the framework for collecting these statistics was missing until the formation of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in 1893. The foreword of an IACP manual for police records, published in 1929, states, “We are compelled to recognize that crime statistics must originate with the police and that without police support, there can be no crime statistics.” The FBI, tapped to coordinate the UCR Program in 1930, worked to foster this fundamental principle, helping the Program to grow in participation and refine its methods for data collection, analysis, and publication.
Crime in the United States, 2004, a manifestation of this collaboration, offers an array of offense, arrest, and police employment data with national totals broken down by region, state, and agency. Narrative and tabular portions highlight national and regional trends identified in the reported figures for the year. Yet, the statistics included in this publication represent only a small percentage of the voluminous amount of information the Program captures and makes available to law enforcement and the public.
This vast compilation of data serves a large and varied audience. In addition to law enforcement, the Program’s data users include other members of the criminal justice community, governmental agencies, legislators, researchers, students, the media, corporate managers, and private citizens. The Program’s data are essential for those seeking to understand the nature and extent of crime in the Nation, their region, their state, or their community.
Local and state law enforcement agencies and the UCR Program staff collaborate daily to gather and provide reliable crime statistics. The resulting valuable data resource is used in a multitude of real-world applications. In a Nation where information sharing has become a priority as law enforcement works together to investigate crimes and prevent terrorist acts, the UCR Program remains an open book for all who wish to better understand crime in the United States.