Advantages of Incident-Based reporting over Summary Reporting

There are many advantages to incident-based crime reporting systems over summary-based crime reporting systems.  Incident-based reporting systems can be designed to be both NIBRS-compliant and capable for producing summary reports that meet the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime reporting requirements as well as local and state requirements.  The benefits of incident-based reporting include:

  • Data collection is not restricted to a limited number of offense categories

  • Offense definitions can meet local, state, and national reporting needs

  • Detail on individual crime incidents (offenses, offenders, victims, property, and arrests) can be collected and analyzed.

  • Arrests and clearances can be linked to specific incidents or offenses.

  • All offenses in in an incident can be recorded and counted, unlike the current situation with the hierarchy rule in the RBI Uniform Crime Reports


  • Additional crime scoring categories, such as Crimes Against Society, can be created


  • Distinctions can be made between attempts and completed crimes


  • Linkages can be established between variables for examining interrelationships between offenses, offenders, victims, property, and arrestees.


  • Detailed crime analyses can be made within and across law enforcement jurisdictions.


  • Regional law enforcement agencies can share information easily.


  • Strategic and tactical crime analysis can be made at the local and regional levels.

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This project was supported by Grant No. 15-NCS-X-02 (NIBRS) 2015-R2-CX-K043 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.

© 2019  by UCR Program 

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Site last updated on:   December 3,  2019