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Measuring Crime

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 1981
This Bureau of Justice Statistics bulletin outlines the crimes that are measured and the methodologies that are used for the two major crime measurement programs: the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) program and the National Crime Survey (NCS).

The bulletin lists the crimes that are measured by both programs, the similarities and differences between the two listings (murder and arson, for example, are not included in the NCS), and definitions of NCS and UCR crimes. The bulletin also tells how the NCS is conducted, the kinds of data that are provided by the survey, and the uses of these data in such projects as estimating the costs of victim compensation programs or determining the kinds of special programs needed for elder victims of crime. In addition, the survey questionnaire, sampling, and quality control procedures are described. The compilation procedures of the Uniform Crime Reports program, initiated in 1930 by the International Chiefs of Police (IACP) are presented, including the use of standardized definitions, the sources of Crime Index offenses, the reporting of index crimes and arrest data, procedures for ensuring accuracy, and the use of geographic data. The use and construction of crime rates are also discussed briefly. Eight footnotes and seven references are included.

Date Published: February 1, 1981