At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • Provides data on area crime rates, which may relate to residents’ physical activity.
  • Provides detailed information about each crime incident.
  • Provides information on nearly every major type of criminal activity.

Website

http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/NACJD/NIBRS/

Purpose

To collect data about type of offense, victim, and perpetrator for crime incidents reported to NIBRS-participating police in the United States (U.S.).

Target Population

Crime incidents reported to participating law enforcement agencies in 35 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Conducted

Began in 1988. Conducted monthly. Most recent year conducted was 2016.

Sponsor

Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice

Special Note(s)

NIBRS is part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

Contact: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
P.O. Box 1248
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106
www.icpsr.umich.edu

For the purposes of NIBRS, an incident is defined as one or more offenses committed by the same offender, or group of offenders acting in concert, at the same time and place. NIBRS contains data on different aspects of crime incidents, such as offenses, victims, offenders, and arrestees. These different aspects can be examined as different units of analysis.

Sampling

Sample Design

The data are cross-sectional, but they do not result from a sample. Participation in NIBRS is voluntary and varies from year-to-year.

Learn more about the study design.

Sample Size

Approximately 5,016,800 crime incidents involving approximately 5,564,900 victims in 2008.

Special Note(s)

Annual Reference Date: January 1. Data reflect crime incidents that were reported as of this date in each year of interest.

Data are voluntarily submitted and do not provide a representative sample of crimes in the U.S. Local, state and federal agencies generate NIBRS data from their records management systems.

Key Variables

Demographic

NameMethods of Assessment
Age of victimInterview/questionnaire
Sex of victimInterview/questionnaire
Race/ethnicity of victimInterview/questionnaire
Whether victim was resident or nonresident of community where crime occurredInterview/questionnaire

Geocode/Linkage

NameMethods of Assessment
Geocode/Linkage Geographic area (state, city)N/A
Area covered by reporting agency (city, metropolitan statistical area [MSA] or non-MSA county)N/A
Population size for area covered by reporting agencyN/A

Other

NameMethods of Assessment
Offense typeInterview/questionnaire
Offense location type (e.g., bar, convenience store, grocery store/supermarket, field/woods)Interview/questionnaire
Offense dateInterview/questionnaire
Offense time of day (by the hour)Interview/questionnaire
Victim type/definition (e.g., individual, business, society/public)Interview/questionnaire
Relationship of victim to offender (e.g., unknown, neighbor, family member, friend)Interview/questionnaire
Months for which data were collected during reporting yearInterview/questionnaire

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

All years of NIBRS data are available for download.

Some years of NIBRS data are also available for analysis using the online Survey Documentation and Analysis System (SDA)

Cost

Free of charge.

Special Note(s)

2008 data are available for download.

All data are restricted *use*. Users must agree to analyze data for statistical research purposes, and not to identify individuals.

Some data are restricted *access* and are not able to be downloaded, which is indicated on the download page. If only the documentation or codebooks are listed, the study is classified restricted access data. The Restricted Data Use Agreement document is available to request access to the data.

Geocode/Linkage

Geocode Variable(s)

State, county, city, Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS)-county, judicial district, Metropolitan Statistical Area, region

Existing Linkages

None found.

Selected Publications

Click here for a full list of publications.

Methods

Addington, Lynn A. Assessing the extent of nonresponse bias on NIBRS estimates of violent crime. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 2008;24(1):32-49.

Barnett-Ryan C, Swanson G. The role of State programs in NIBRS data quality: A case study of two states. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 2008; 24(1):18-31.

Rantala RR. Effects of NIBRS on crime statistics. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report July 2000; NCJ 178890, Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Roberts, D J. Implementing the National Incident-Based Reporting System: Project Status Report. A Joint Project of the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Federal Bureau of Investigation 1997; NCJ 165581, Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.