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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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